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Recap / Angel S 03 E 11 Birthday

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Cordelia is dying from her visions, but the demon Skip gives her a chance to relive her life without having met Angel and Doyle.


  • Alternate Reality Episode: The so-called Skipverse/Cordyverse.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Cordelia is no longer a talentless, out-of-work actress, but the star of her own hit sitcom Cordy! The Hyperion Hotel also gets a face lift in this story: rather than an abandoned wreck, it's glamorous and still in use.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Angel gives Cordelia his baby to coo over when the rest of the gang arrive with her presents. Cordy ponders which is more important... then tells Angel to take the baby. It looks like another joke about Cordelia's vanity when she repeats her words more urgently — Angel grabs Connor as Cordelia has a vision that causes her to thrash about violently.
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  • Birthday Episode: Like Buffy, Cordy has problems with the supernatural during it.
  • Body Surf: Cordelia waits till Angel falls asleep, then jumps into his body so she can use it to write the information about her vision on the wall. Skip's arrival throws her out of his body before she can complete the message.
  • Brick Joke: In Season One's "To Shanshu In L.A." Wesley read a prophecy that a demon known as the Beast of Amalfie is due to arise in Reseda in 2003. Cordelia drives to Reseda and discovers the cause of the demon's summoning — a teenage girl accidentally pouring diet soda on a black magic tome while trying to cast a spell to make her Disappeared Dad return home.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Superstar!Cordelia has the nagging feeling she's forgotten something important. Her Hypercompetent Sidekick Nev is on the case.
    Cordy: "I want something. Hypo-something. Hypothermia?"
    Nev: (to phone) "Josh, lets get a large tub of ice water to Miss Chase's dressing room, pronto."
    Cordy: (to herself) "No, that's not it."
    Nev: "Canceling ice water."
    Cordy: "Hyper... hyperbaric?"
    Nev: "Josh, make it an oxygen tent."
    Cordy: "No, that's not it either."
    Nev: "Canceling tent."
    Cordy: "Hyperion! That's it!"
  • Continuity Nod
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    • Skip was the affable demon guarding Billy in "That Vision Thing". He was brought back by popular fan demand.
    • Wesley mentions losing his arm to a Kungai demon, presumably the one he was pursuing in "Parting Gifts".
    • Cordelia kids Wesley about their awful kiss in BTVS "Graduation Day".
    • Clips are shown from "Hero" (Doyle passes on the visions to Cordelia) and "City Of" (Cordelia meets Angel in LA).
    • The same actor who played the bellhop at the 1950's Hyperion in "Are You Know Or Have You Ever Been" is reused.
    • Cordelia asks Skip if the Powers intend to turn back time for her. He says they don't go in for that "much" — referring to "I Will Remember You", when the Powers agreed to turn back time 24 hours for Angel.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Angel appears to be going to make an Anguished Declaration of Love to the unconscious Cordy, only to start railing at her for not telling him the visions were slowly killing her.
  • Covered in Gunge: For once we see the aftermath — lots of cleaning.
  • Cuteness Proximity: As per usual for Connor.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Cordy is literally in the limelight!
  • Dom Com: Cordy, a Friends-style sitcom starring Cordelia Chase. We get to see the Title Sequence, but a clip of the show had to be cut for time, and because the producers felt it wasn't funny enough. It can be watched as a Deleted Scene on the DVD. Tropes seen in Cordy include: Absolute Cleavage (Cordy wears a plunging neckline dress), Happy Dance, Not What It Looks Like, Studio Audience and Recycled Set (from Dharma & Greg).
  • Dramatic Shattering: While having her vision Cordelia stumbles into the glass-fronted weapons cabinet and breaks it.
  • Dynamic Entry: Subverted when Skip enters with the usual flashing lights and Dramatic Wind, only to say casually, "Hey, how's it going?"
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Cordelia is reluctant to leave her old life because she thinks Angel needs her. Skip takes her to where Angry!Angel is shouting at the Conduit, just in time to hear him denounce her as a rich girl playing at superhero who's too weak for the job. Cordelia asks to leave and takes the alternate reality, missing out on the rest of the conversation.
    Angel: "You're killing her. She's unconscious, and she's alone. Who knows if she's in pain?"
    Voices: "It is angry. It is afraid."
    Angel: (beat) "I'm more afraid of her dying than she is. What is that?"
  • Exact Words
    Fred: "Lorne! What happened?"
    Lorne: "I can't really talk about it."
    Gunn: "Then how the hell are we supposed to find them so we can kick their asses?"
    Lorne: "Ah, no. I mean I can't talk about it. They cast a spell."
  • Foreshadowing
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Skip delivers his exposition to Cordelia in a "reality construct" that looks like The Mall, where he assumes she'll be comfortable.
  • For Want of a Nail: Cordelia experiences an alternate reality in which she met a talent agent instead of Angel at the party in "City Of". She's now the famous star of a popular sit-com, whereas Angel has gone insane from the visions, Wesley has lost an arm, Gunn has an ugly scar across his face and Fred was never rescued from Pylea, while the Fang Gang are barely scraping by without Cordy's Money Fetish skills.
  • Freudian Slip: The bellhop at the Hyperion who offers to take the famous Ms Chase up to his room...her room.
  • Future Badass: In this case an Alternate Reality Badass: One-armed, unshaven sword-wielding Wesley.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Tormented by the visions, and without Cordelia to take Doyle's place as a friend, Angel has gone insane.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Cordelia makes a deal with Skip to make her part-demon so she can survive the visions.
  • Hidden Depths: Superstar!Cordelia has kindness, patience, and acting ability — implying that these traits are innate rather than from the empathy she's gained from experiencing the visions and helping the helpless over the past three years.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Cordelia's birthday is celebrated by her falling into a coma.
  • Ho Yay: If it requires love and kisses to pass on the visions, how exactly did Doyle pass them on to Angel?
  • Hypocritical Humor: Cordelia saying "You can't scare me!" then jumping in fright as Wesley suddenly enters the room.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Skip is impressed when Cordelia accepts the unpredictable and terrible consequences of becoming part demon.
    "It was an honor being your guide, Cordelia Chase."
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Cordy learns what her life would be like if she hadn't re-encountered Angel.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Lorne staggers in after being beaten up, moaning for a Sea Breeze.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: Implied — if the Kungai wasn't the de-horned one from "Parting Gifts", then Wesley may have been forced to amputate his own arm after it had been pierced by the horn, to avoid getting his life force drained.
  • Near-Death Experience: Cordelia
  • Layman's Terms
    Wes: "Fred studied Cordy's latest CAT scans. The news isn't good. The tests show widespread neuro-electrical deterioration."
    Ghost!Cordy: (scoffing) "That's just a fancy way of saying..."
    Angel: "She's dying."
    Ghost!Cordy: (beat) "I think I like the fancy way better."
  • "Leave Your Quest" Test: Cordelia has a choice of the fame and fortune she's always craved since she was the Alpha Bitch of Sunnydale High, or being an unsung and likely short-lived heroine.
  • Loophole Abuse: While going to find out how to contact the Conduit, Lorne gets roughed up and has a spell placed on him so he can't reveal what he found out. He slips Angel a piece of paper. "They didn't say I couldn't write it."
  • Luck-Based Search Technique: While searching Cordy's apartment Fred snarks at Gunn for checking out her underwear drawer, but not looking under the bed where the pills turn out to be stashed.
  • The Movie Buff: Skip loves The Matrix. Gladiator, not so much.
  • Myself My Avatar: Skip notices that the astral-projected Cordy isn't any different from the real Cordy lying unconscious on the bed, and that most people pretty themselves up a bit. When you're Cordelia of course, you don't need to.
  • Nipple and Dimed: When Cordelia wakes up from her vision and has a good stretch. Guess it wasn't just the floating the gang were gaping at.
  • No Sympathy: Lorne gets worked over while seeking information for Angel.
    Angel: "Did you get the information?"
    Lorne: "Oh, why yes, Angel. My horn should grow back in a couple of days."
  • Power at a Price
    Skip: "The only way you get to keep the visions is by becoming...part demon. (Cordy looks down) The process isn't easy. It'll make your vision pain feel like a stroll through Candyland. And even after the pain subsides the effects of the transition will be numerous and unpredictable. You may never be able to lead a human life again."
  • Red Pill, Blue Pill: Skip is after all a Matrix fan.
  • Reveal Shot:
  • Saying Too Much: Fred is getting on Gunn for searching Cordy's underwear drawer. Gunn says that's where women hide things. Fred replies that she wouldn't know as she lived in a cave for the past five years and can we not talk about my underwear?
  • Sleight of Tongue: Cordelia kisses Angel, causing the visions to pass over to her.
  • Sunnydale Syndrome: Lampshaded by Gunn.
    Gunn: "Hey, what is it with you Sunnydale folks and repression? I mean, you three are the most denying-it folks I've ever met."
  • Superhero: Cordelia's birthday cake has a decoration of her wielding a crossbow-pistol in The Cape, tights, and Combat Stilettos of Wonder Woman.
  • Spirit Advisor: Skip acts as a 'guide' for Cordelia.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Lampshaded by Superstar!Cordelia re: Wesley.
    Cordy: "So, you - like - kill things now? 'Cause last time I saw you, you just kind of fainted in front of them."
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Conduit referring to Angel as "it", and in the third person.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Not that simple, according to Skip.
  • Your Head Asplode: According to Skip, the next time Cordelia experiences a vision it will blow the back of her head open. Literally.
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