Episode # 65
Original Air Date: May 13, 2002
Review by: Anne
Connor (a.k.a. Steven) and Holtz check into a motel, where Holtz sends Connor to Angel to "learn all you can." After Connor arrives at the Hyperion, Cordy gets a vision of a woman in a bar in danger from a vampire gang. Angel asks Connor to go with him on the mission. Wesley arrives at the same bar after receiving a mysterious email. The woman in danger is Justine. Lilah set up the scene to see if Wes would warn Justine or simply leave, and Lilah is pleased that Wes has to think about it. Angel and Connor defeat the vamps; Lilah wonders aloud who the "boy wonder" is, but Wes recognizes that it's Angel's son. Connor returns to Holtz, who tells him to go back to Angel for good. Connor gets angry about that and goes to the Hyperion. He's aggressively rude to Lorne, then Cordy arrives downstairs. Trying to explain to Connor that not all demons are evil, she uses herself as an example, and Connor suddenly attacks her. As she manages to hold him back, she begins to glow with white light that surrounds Connor as well. She encourages him to "let it go," and soon he's crying on her shoulder. Meanwhile, Fred and Gunn have learned that Holtz is back. After hearing the news, Angel asks them to take Connor out while he confronts Holtz. However, while at the beach with Fred and Gunn, Connor overhears their discussion of the matter and heads for the motel. Holtz gives Angel a letter for Connor and says that he (Holtz) is going away for good. Angel leaves and sits in his car reading the letter as we see Justine arrive at the motel. She kills Holtz at his insistence by puncturing his neck. Connor arrives, sees the wounds, and mutters angrily, "Angelus."
"So he survived an unspeakable hell dimension: who hasn't?" I loved Fred's line and the one that followed about how Connor still shouldn't be left alone on the streets of L.A. On closer reflection, that remark could apply to just about anyone on the show. Angel, for example, was literally sent to hell. Fred was trapped in Pylea for years, and Lorne felt trapped even though Pylea was his home. You don't have to travel to another dimension to know pain and suffering: Cordy lost her wealth and status, and Gunn had to stake his own sister.
Even the bad guys aren't immune to suffering. Lilah's mother is losing her memory. Justine's twin sister was murdered. Holtz - poor, poor Holtz - could be the poster boy for suffering after losing his family then being consumed by hatred.
I looked up the word "benediction" and to my surprise every definition had something to do with a blessing. Blessing is at the opposite end of the spectrum of suffering; the only instance that even loosely fits into that category in this episode was when Holtz sent Connor to Angel. Of course, he wasn't actually blessing them, since he was planning to frame Angel for his own murder.
He lived through countless run-ins with Angelus and Darla back in the day and actually made them fear him. He was brought back and proved he could still conquer a wide range of demons: he even knew how to contain Sahjhan if the need arose. He survived for years in a nightmarish place; he credited his hate with keeping him and Connor alive. The hate was ultimately an unspeakable torment from which he couldn't escape.
* So it was Connor who found a way out of Quor-toth. I was sure it was Holtz who had the escape plan.
* The writers get another point for consistency. Angel mentioned not requiring an invitation at a motel when searching for Darla in season two.
* I noticed two lines that could have been gleaned from Buffy episodes: Lilah referred to vampires as "undead Americans," and Connor told Holtz, "I'm sorry I couldn't kill him for you."
* I liked how Fred greeted Connor by saying, "Angel's son" so she didn't have to say either Steven or Connor.