"Birthday"
Written by Mere Smith; directed by Michael Grossman

Cordelia and Fred are cleaning up the lobby of the Hyperion after the semi-destructive events of “Lullaby” and “Dad,” and Cordelia is using her possible future award-acceptance speech. Gunn has the unhappy job of cleaning up “Wolfram & Hart’s entrails.” He quietly asks Fred if Wesley is back yet and learns that he isn’t. Angel comes downstairs with Connor and tells Cordelia that she can’t hold him because she’s been cleaning. As she heads off to get cleaned up, Angel asks Fred, “Does she know?” Wesley returns with some bags as Cordelia takes some pills in the bathroom. When she comes back out, she finds the MoG holding a cake for her with a picture of a superhero on it. They sing “Happy Birthday” and she blows out the candles, noting that her wish didn’t come true because Jude Law isn’t there. Angel lets Cordelia hold Connor and then awkwardly gives her a small present he got for her. Suddenly, Cordelia tells Angel to take the baby back because she’s having a vision. She starts to tell the MoG about a teenaged girl, but she gets blasted back into a glass weapons cabinet. A moment later, she sits up and tells the others that she’s okay. A few feet away, she sees the MoG around her body and wonders if she’s dead. As out-of-body Cordelia looks on, Angel tries to revive her; she’s pleased to realize that she’s still alive. She wonders if this is some sort of weird birthday present as Fred finds a bottle of her pills. Angel remembers that Cordelia was telling them about her vision and out-of-body Cordelia tries to say that the girl is in Reseda. Lorne arrives and Cordelia thinks that he’ll be able to hear her, but he can’t. She sees a black shadow passing nearby and gets a bad feeling about it. Fred shows the others the bottle of pills, much to Cordelia’s dismay, and Wesley notes that the medication is for migraines. Lorne says that’s picking up vibes in the room that tell him that Cordelia’s problem is mystical. Fred says that if Cordelia is taking medication secretly, her visions are causing more problems for her than she’s been letting on. Angel sends Fred and Gunn to Cordelia’s apartment (obviously not hearing Cordelia’s protests) and Wesley heads off to do research.

Cordelia hears whispering around her as everyone leaves; she decides to try to leave a message for the MoG, but can’t pick up a pen to write anything. At Cordelia’s apartment, Fred and Gunn are greeted by Phantom Dennis, who’s wearing a party hat and has confetti for Cordelia. Fred introduces herself to Dennis and Gunn proclaims that Fred is cool. They decide that they should tell Dennis what happened to Cordelia. Back at the Hyperion, Cordelia tries to get Wesley’s attention, but he still can’t see or hear her. Wesley realizes that if Cordelia is on an astral plane, she wouldn’t be able to communicate with the MoG. She decides to read over his shoulder, but he turns the page before she can. Fred and Gunn finish looking around Cordelia’s apartment, where they don’t find anything to indicate that something’s wrong with her. Fred wonders if Phantom Dennis is hiding something to protect Cordelia, so Gunn asks him to help them out. Phantom Dennis reveals a container full of medications under Cordelia’s bed. In a bedroom at the Hyperion, Angel talks to the non-responsive Cordelia, telling her that he’s angry about her hiding MRIs and CAT scans from him. Lorne enters, wanting to try to read Cordelia to find out what’s going on. Cordelia tries to tell him about the girl in Reseda, but Lorne tells Angel, “Cordelia’s not in there. She’s just gone.” Out-of-body Cordelia hears the whispering again and admits that she’s scared. Angel tells Lorne that he has to find a way for him to talk to the Powers That Be, no matter how hard it might be. Later, Cordelia waits until Angel falls asleep and then applies some of her new knowledge about astral planes to enter his body. She makes him write the address of the girl from her vision on the wall as the whispering starts up again. As Cordelia finishes writing, she’s thrown out of Angel’s body. Wesley enters and tells Angel that Cordelia’s latest CAT scans indicate that her brain is being irreversibly damaged and she’s basically dying. Suddenly, a wind blows through the room (though only Cordelia notices it) and Skip (see “That Vision Thing”) appears. “Hey. How’s it going?” he asks.

Cordelia wonders if Skip is death; he tells her that he’ll answer her questions, but first they have to leave. “You don’t belong here anymore,” he tells her. She wonders if that’s because she’s dead and he says that she’s not, but she will be soon if they don’t leave. She says that she’ll go with him if he tells the MoG about her vision, but Skip says he can’t - he’s a guide, not a messenger. Cordelia says that she doesn’t want to die, then disappears with Skip. The MoG look over Cordelia’s CAT scans, noting that they indicate that she should be catatonic. Lorne returns with torn clothes and a damaged horn, explaining that the Powers That Be cast a spell blocking him from talking about what happened. He finds a loophole by writing it down; he warns Angel that he has to take this seriously and says that “only a champion can deal with the conduit.” Cordelia and Skip reappear in a deserted mall; Skip explains that the Powers That Be thought she’d be comfortable there. Skip starts up a video of Doyle on a TV screen; Cordelia watches the kiss that transferred Doyle’s powers to her (see “Hero”). Skip explains that Doyle was never meant to pass on the powers, but the Powers That Be didn’t catch on to what he was doing because they weren’t familiar with his feelings for her. Cordelia meets another girl who had visions similar to hers; she explains that the visions killed her because humans weren’t meant to have them. Angel winds up in the chamber of the conduits to the Powers That Be, who don’t seem to want to talk to him. Angel tells them that he wants the Powers That Be to take back Cordelia’s visions. The conduits beat him up a little and try to kick him out. Skip shows Cordelia a video from the party in “City Of,” telling her that if she hadn’t met up with Angel there, her entire life would be different - she would be a famous actress. He says that the Powers That Be can make that happen now, in which case she wouldn’t be a demon fighter and wouldn’t have the visions. Cordelia notes that she also wouldn’t have Angel in her life. Skip tells her that if she chooses to return to her body, she won’t wake up. He shows her Angel talking to the conduits and hears them saying that they can’t interfere and Angel saying that she’s too weak to take the visions. Skip takes Cordelia back to the mall and she tells him that she’s chosen the alternate life. She closes her eyes, and when she opens them again, she’s a two-time Emmy winner standing in front of her sitcom’s audience.

We see the opening credits of Cordy! and watch Cordelia goofing around with people and a dog. After the taping, Cordelia heads off as her assistant Nev catches up to her. She signs some autographs and we see that Cordelia is a lot more generous and a lot less self-absorbed than most celebrities. She asks Nev if he ever gets the feeling that he’s supposed to be somewhere else; Nev says that he doesn’t. Cordelia heads off, trying to figure out what it is she’s trying to remember and finally coming up with the name Hyperion. She announces that she wants to go there right then, alone. She arrives at the hotel (which is no longer abandoned) and is shown to a luxury suite. However, she tells the concierge that she wants a different room - the one that Angel lived in. Cordelia looks at the wallpaper and pulls it back to find the address she wrote while she was inside Angel’s body. She heads over to the teenager’s house (her name’s Cynthia) and sees that Cynthia has been trying to perform a retrieval spell to bring her father back. Suddenly a demon appears and Cordelia tries to get Cynthia out of the house. She fights the demon and is soon joined by Gunn and a one-armed Wesley, who help her fight. Cordelia is both surprised to see Wesley and amazed that he now fights demons rather than freaking out at the sight of them. Cordelia fills Wesley in on what’s happened and he says that, as usual, he’ll have to consult his books. He introduces Cordelia to Gunn, who recognizes her from the story Wesley told him about their first kiss (see “Graduation Day, Part 2”). Gunn mentions that he’s now met three people from Sunnydale and Cordelia wonders who the third is. Wesley and Gunn take her to Wesley’s apartment and fill her in about Angel, who they say kind of lost it after Doyle, his only friend, died. On top of that Angel, gets Doyle’s visions. (No word on whether or not he got them via a kiss.) Cordelia goes in to see Angel, who’s in a bare room and isn’t completely coherent. Cordelia tries to comfort him and winds up kissing him, which passes the visions from him back to her. She says that she remembers everything and that the visions are supposed to be hers.

Skip shows up and tells Cordelia that she made a deal to give up her visions. He reminds her that humans aren’t strong enough to have the visions, but she begs him to find a loophole. Her purpose in life is to have the visions, and she thinks that the Powers That Be should know that. Skip admits that the only way she can keep her visions is to become part demon. The process won’t be pleasant, and even after that, she can’t be sure what effects she’ll experience; she may not be able to lead a normal human life again. Cordelia chooses to take the chance, so Skip demonizes her. Back at the Hyperion, Cordelia wakes up and is pleased to realize that she doesn’t have horns or a tail. Wesley asks Cordelia about the last thing she remembers; she tells him about the vision but assures him that everything has been worked out. She announces that she’s having another vision, even though she’s not in pain. The MoG note that she’s now floating off of the ground. “What?” she asks.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Apparently, everything leads back to the MoG.

GRADE: B- This could’ve been so much more fun.

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Angel: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa - dirty people. Not touching the baby.”
Cordelia: “But pig-drinking bloodsuckers are okay? I meant that in a nice way.”

Cordelia: “I want something. Hypo-something. Hypothermia?”
Nev: “Josh, let’s get a large tub of ice water to Miss Chase’s dressing room, pronto."
Cordelia: “No, that’s not it.”
Nev: “Canceling ice water.”
Cordelia: “Hyper…hyperbaric?”
Nev: “Josh, make it an oxygen tent.”
Cordelia: “No, that’s not it, either.”
Nev: “Canceling tent.”


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