PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on television spoiler-free ... good luck with that.


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Free the Slaves and Outlaw Polyester

Episode 2.21: Through the Looking Glass. Original Airdate: 5.15.01

“Cordelia meets the Groosalugg while Wesley, Gunn and Angel get a good look at the beast that lives within Angel.”

Daniel’s Thoughts:
  • We begin where we left off.  Our four guys are captured – but oops, Cordy is Queen!
  • Her…clothes? I’m not sure if you can call them clothes, but they sure are shiny.
  • “Off with their heads,” Cordelia jokes as quirky music plays so we know she’s joking.
  • Cordelia excuses the guards.  The gang races for the food.
  • Prophecy called!  Lorne explains: Cursed one, pure sight, messiah. Blah blah blah.
  • Now a plan to get back. 
  • Angel, meanwhile, is staring at himself in the mirror. And he can’t believe his hair.

  • The red demons plan and conspire.  There will be something called the com-shuk…which the princess (we call her queen) may not survive
  • Meanwhile Lorne goes to visit his family and introduces his “roommate” Angel. Wait, I might be mixing things up.
  • Lorne’s mom has a beard. So that’s funny.
  • Lorne’s cousin recognizes Angel as a warrior.  In my continued made-up story in my head, Lorne’s family is accepting of his “roommate”.
  • Ooh…Wesley finds a book with a Hart on the cover.   
  • The holy books are split into three – I wonder what the other two covers will be.
  • And Wes finally puts it together.  The other two covers are a WOLF & a RAM.
  • A lot of make-up work here which is impressive. Fish people and Deathwok clan demons.  Must have taken a lot of work with all these extras.
  • Lorne is annoyed that his family is treating his “roommate” (continuing the narrative) – better then him.
  • The red demon priests tell Cordelia that the Groosalugg is on his way.
  • The com-shuk is a mating ritual, which duh. Listen to its name.
  • “It’s been a really long time since I’ve had a good com-shuk”
  • Fred has been captured and they want Angel to cut off her head.
  • But Fred won’t die today.  Maybe in a few spoilers.
  • We need a distraction!  Lorne!  Sing your heart out!
  • There are horses…in this dimension.  Horses in every dimension!  Angel rescues Fred and steals one.
  • Meanwhile Cordy tries to escape with Wes & Gunn…through the sewers.  But Cordy gets caught before she can escape.
  • “Handsome man…saved me from the monsters.  Bye!”  
That’s our Fred.
  • We find where Fred’s been staying – in a cave.
  • Angel realizes that Fred was the one who disappeared from the library in Cordy’s vision.
  • “Cordy? She’s fine. They made her princess.” “Really? Oh.  When I got here they didn’t do that.  Well.  That’s nice for her.”  Every single moment of Fred’s line delivered wonderfully.
  • So the Groosalugg appears.  And he’s kinda hot in a ‘cover of a fantasy novel’ kinda way.
  • It’s time for Angel to fight.  He goes to vamp face but since we’re in another dimension, his vamp face is a bit…different….all green and thorny and he doesn’t seem to be able to control himself much either.
  • So Groosalugg talks about his cursed looks/deformities. So it’s like that Twilight Zone episode where the hot people are ugly and the ugly people are hot.
  • Guards bring Lorne in all tied up and Cordy almost gets Lorne executed because she’s distracted by the Groosalugg’s backstory.  But she finally snaps out of it & pardons him.
  • Meanwhile Gunn & Wes bump into green bumpy Angel. Angel is out of control but Fred calms him by dipping her hand into a bag of blood…  “And that’s how I met your mother,” says Wes.
  • According to Wes, that’s what Angel’s demon looks like in its purest form.  Because as Anya has explained, most demons we’ve seen on Earth – including vampires – are only hybrids.
  • Wes & Gunn get captured by cows (humans).
  • Fred tries to calm the beast within Angel.  She lures him back to the cave and shows him his reflection.  This seems to do it.
  • Angel is a bit overwhelmed by what he’s done/seen.
  • Cordelia, who has been listening to Groo’s story, finally feels vulnerable enough to share her own story.
  • Groo convinces Cordy of her worth as a princess.
  • The red demons aren’t happy that Cordy wants to make proclamations.
  • Wes & Gunn are tied up.  Wes tries to convince the humans that they’re not spies and that they’re friends with the princess.
  • Angel’s still in complete shock. Wow, that took a lot out of him.  Fred is looking after him.
  • Cordy tries to write a proclamation to free the slaves & outlaw polyester…
  • The red demons make sure to let Cordy know that they’re the ones in charge.
  • And oh no!  Lorne’s head is cut off and on a platter!
Zelda’s Thoughts:
  • And right where we left off, with Queen C on the throne!
  • “You’re … safe” // “Little bit. They made me their ruler.”
  • The music tells us that we’re in the quirky hijinks portion of the arc, with Cordelia munching on grapes and jokingly ordering “off with their heads” about her friends. “Kidding!” *opening credits*
  • I mean … they did follow you to a different dimension, Cords. Maybe be a little nicer?
  • Wes hangs a lantern on the whole thing I was getting ornery about last episode: “It doesn’t make sense, does it? I mean, in a world where humans are slaves and chattel—why would they elevate one to monarch?”
  • Lorne cites a prophecy (stats!) that heralded Cordelia and her visions as the messiah, a “direct link to the powers that be,” and again I ask why this is a thing for a species that already has psychic powers.
  • Angel’s all excited about his reflection slash confused about his hairstyle. “This is because of going through the portal, right?” // “No, it always looks like that.” … “Why didn’t anybody tell me about this?” Having recently gotten a very different haircut than I’ve ever had, I get the fixation on the surprising reflection.
  • Meanwhile in priestland, it turns out they are pissed about crowning a human after all, so that’s cool. They’re still planning to kill Cordy after the Com-shuk and I guess they had a lot of fun finding a S&P approved sex euphemism there.
  • Lorne’s mom hates him a lot.
  • And then we have the weirdest cameo ever, as Joss Whedon does Numfar’s dance of joy in the background of a shot. Which would be more fun if we didn’t know what a shit he turned out to be. It bums me out, because it used to be one of my favorite things.

  • Anyway he’s now doing the dance of honor in the background that looks the same as the dance of joy, while Lorne’s family happily celebrates Angel the Drokken Slayer and treats Lorne like shit.
  • Wes is looking at the three mystical books the priests were using. He catches that a Hart is on one of them, and that the three are meant to be read together, not as a trilogy, but concurrent. Anyway, everyone put a pin in the Hart, right? Right? Cuz that’s a thing.
  • And Wes looks at the covers of the other two. A wolf. A ram.
  • JINKIES! WOLF RAM AND HART. “I’m not sure the priests can be trusted.” It’s nice to have stakes again.
  • Angel’s regaling the family with the story of cutting off the evil lawyer-beast’s hand. Lorne: “Nice to be seen as the hero without all the pesky moral ambiguities you get back home, isn’t it?” Lorne has to remind Angel that for all that it’s nice to feel celebrated for his achievements, these are the same people who see our beloved Lorne as useless. “They see you a certain way, you start to see yourself that way. You become that image. I get it. I do. Because I know how they see me!”
  • “The Com-shuk is a mating ritual.” // Gunn: “I told you it was dirty.”
  • So random government question. They crowned Cordelia and had this whole throneroom and whatnot … was there a monarch before that she’s now unseated? And if not … why was there a throne room? Who’s in charge?

  • Anyway, they want Angel to swing the thingamajig and behead … FRED! It’s Fred. Please don’t kill Fred. Girl’s got another few seasons in her.
  • And as Angel protects Fred, Lorne distracts them from attacking him by serenading them and it’s so lovely and these idiots all think their ears are on fire and how can they insult his beautiful tenor that way?
  • “I want you to find me a dimension where some demon doesn’t want to impregnate me with its spawn!” Cordy, I have super bad news about Season Four. “What is it about me anyway? Do I put out some kind of Com-shuk me vibe?” and you know they called it that solely for that joke. Anyway, they’re fleeing the castle through the sewers and Cordy wants to take a bunch of jewelry with her and so she gets caught by the priests while Wes and Gunn abscond.
  • Very Shawshank.
  • Meanwhile Angel’s still rocking the hero vibe, riding away with Fred on a horse in the countryside. I don’t think he recognizes her as the woman from Cordy’s vision yet.
  • “Handsome man. Saved me from the monsters. Bye.” Poor Fred, still so broken. He follows her to a cave whose walls are covered with mathematical equations.
  • “Why won’t you [talk to me]?” “Because you’re not real. Or I’m not real. Somebody here isn’t real and I suspect it’s you. So if you’re not real, that means my head came off back there and that I’m dead now. Dead. And with me being dead and you not being real I can hardly be expected to have some big conversation with you at the moment.”
  • He finds her ID and so finally he knows she’s the one they were looking for.
  • Fred’s a little put out that Cordy’s a princess. “Really? Oh. When I got here they didn’t do that. Well, that’s nice for her.” Very southern politeness.
  • Anyway we finally meet the Groosalugg and he’s a hunk with Fabio hair.
  • Oh lawd. I’d remembered that Angel’s vampface was more demonic here but I’d forgotten it was all green and horny. Poor Fred. “Bad things always happen here.” Because also Angel’s a lotttttttt more feral. He’s not killing Fred, but he doesn’t seem to recognize her.
  • Meanwhile back at the romance novel, Groo thinks he’s grotesque for his pretty mouth, biceps, and human heart. So I guess he’s of mixed race? Kinda like Doyle but super buff. I imagine Doyle having a similar reaction to Fred’s about Cordy being a princess.
  • Apparently Groosalugg means “brave and undefeated”
  • Omg and Cordy’s lusty enough to almost let them execute Lorne. Luckily she catches sight of him in time. So that’s twice in twelve hours Lorne’s been brought to her throne room for punishment.
  • Oop FeralAngel finds Wes and Gunn and they start fighting … until Wes recognizes Angel’s tattoo.
  • Oh shit I’d forgotten how magical and strange and beautiful this moment is (the music underneath is gorgeous), of Fred standing with her hand soaked in blood, to lure Angel away from his friends before he kills them.
  • And Wes has a Magical Explanation for Angel’s weird vampire action here in Pylea. His vamp weaknesses were sublimated in his human form, but now that he’s turned full vamp, all his humanness is likewise sublimated.
  • I do have a question about their declaration that Green Horned Angel is the vampire in its purest form, since he looks nothing like the Turok-Han and I thought that was the pure vampire?

  • Anyway, Wes and Gunn keep going from frying pan to bonfire, and now they’re surrounded by human rebels. “Oh good. More fun.”
  • Fred lures FeralAngel back to the cave, where he finally sees his vamp reflection, and is horrified enough to stop tracking her, and transform back.
  • God I really love Fred. They’re doing a lot to make us love her quickly, since she’s going to join the cast, and it’s partly working and partly just me remembering that I love her. But there’s so much beauty in her cave scenes, in the quiet between the madness babbling.
  • Anyway, Angel is shooketh and shaking, looking pretty broken himself by the events of the day.
  • Cordy, after hearing Groo’s story, tells him she’s not a princess. She agrees she has the visions, but that doesn’t make her royalty. A really interesting shift from high school Cordy, who had the license plate Queen C on her car.
  • Groo (slightly) confuses me by saying Cordelia’s beautiful (I mean she is but stay with me), since he thinks his own appearance isn’t beautiful. That’s a confusing double standard?
  • The human rebels who’ve tied up Gunn and Wes want to send a message to the princess and again I ask, did Cordy unseat someone when she became princess? How do they already know she’s a princess when she’s been in throne-office only a day or so? HOW THE HELL DOES THIS ALL WORK AND WHY ARE THE WRITERS BEING LAZY ABOUT THIS.
  • Oh right. We always knew Joss was a bit lazy in the world-building, sacrificing world logic for whatever story he wanted to tell.
  • Gunn: “Have I mentioned just how glad I am I decided to leave my people behind in L.A. so I could come here to die?”
  • Angel, still shooketh, “They saw it. They looked right at it … the monster. They saw what I really am. I can’t go back. Not now, I can never go back.”
  • Silas tells Cordy she has no actual power, that she’s just a tool of the Covenant. And again I ask why the rebels wanted to send their one-day princess a message, and not send a message to the priests???? I’m calling a general shenanigan over the logistics of this society’s government/sovereign power and the lack of clarity thereof.
  • Anyway, they’ve literally served Lorne’s head to Cordy on a silver platter and it’s all very biblical.

Favorite Lines:
Daniel: Angel: “Cordy? She’s fine. They made her princess.” Fred: “Really? Oh.  When I got here they didn’t do that.  Well.  That’s nice for her.”  
Zelda: I tried to find a line but honestly this is my favorite moment  in the whole episode.


First Appearance:
Lorne’s Mom, Groosalugg, Rebel Leader
Recurring: Lorne, Fred, Landok, Silas, Constable Narwek, Priest #1
Generally Known TV Face: Tom McCleister, Mark Lutz, Adoni Maropis
Whedonverse Hat Trick: Joss Whedon (not sure who this guy is or how he’s connected to the show but he plays Numfar)
Lorne’s Nicknames: Pudding (Cordelia), Hans Christian Tarantino (Angel)

Caritas on Tour Song List
“Stop! In the Name of Love”

Cordelia’s Hair – half-up, with a tiara, because princess
Dead Humans – 0
Dead Undeads – 1
Dead Flashbacks – 0
Dead Lawyers – 0
Cordelia Has a Vision – 0
Wesley Prat-falls – 0
Lawyered Ex Machina – 0
Evil Reveal – 0
Unevil Reveal – 0
Shenanigans Called – 1
Apocalypse Called – 0
Prophecy Called – 1


  1. In regards to the Ubervamp vs. pure vamp Angel, Giles did mention that the Turok Han was ancient. That what Neanderthals are to humans, the Turok Han is to vampires. So maybe after thousands, or millions of years, the pure forms of vampires evolved into the green horn face we see here. Or maybe the make up people just didn't make the connection and defaulted to the Nosferatu form when the Ubervamp came along in season 7.

    1. Hmmmmm .... Senior Chang and I will allow it.