"Rain of Fire" (aka "Apocalypse, Nowish")
Episode # 73
Original Air Date: November 17, 2002
Review by: Anne
Cordelia, who is staying with Connor again, suffers from dreams about a horrible, unstoppable monster that is clawing its way to the Earth's surface. Connor, concerned about Cordy's state of mind, visits the Hyperion and asks Angel to talk to her. Angel goes to see Cordy who tells him that although she'll always love him, she can't be with him because as a higher being she relived the things he did in his past as Angelus. As she suggests they "give it a little time" she has a vision and announces that "it's coming now." Fred and Gunn return to the Hyperion after investigating one of the many calls the gang has received about paranormal activity. The conversation turns to their troubled relationship and to what happened with Professor Seidel; it ends with Fred apologizing as she rushes off. Angel goes to Wolfram and Hart for information on the monster in Cordy's vision. He learns that the W&H psychics are having a great deal of trouble deciphering what they took out of Lorne's head, and he bargains to obtain Lilah's cooperation. Connor and Cordy go in search of the thing from her vision; their wandering brings them to the alley where Darla staked herself. At the spot where Connor entered the world, the vision-monster bursts through the pavement. Connor tries to fight it but is easily tossed aside. The thing looms menacingly over Cordy before laughing a little and launching itself out of sight. Angel returns to the hotel where Wesley has arrived, suggesting they pool their resources to find out what's going on. Wesley, Gunn, Lorne and Angel sift through the documentation that Lilah provided; a pattern is revealed that leads them to a penthouse club called Sky Temple. At the club, they find corpses laid out in a pattern on the floor around the thing from Cordy's vision. A battle begins, but The Beast (TB) easily deflects their blows, arrows, and even blasts from Wesley's guns. Angel and TB go another round until TB gets the upper hand. TB asks Angel, "Do you really think she's safe with him?" before throwing Angel off of the building. TB punches the floor and a column of fire shoots up from the floor. TB disappears into the flames. From a distance we see the column of fire absorbed into the clouds, then fire begins to rain down on the city. Connor and Cordy watch from Connor's place; Connor thinks that the current happenings are his fault. Cordy tries to assure him that it isn't. She touches his face, and they kiss. She says that if it's the end, she wants him to have something that's real. As the others watch what's happening outside, Connor and Cordy are in bed.
Oh, the humanity! No, not the mayhem and destruction caused by the big Beasty - I'm referring to Cordy and Connor. Spoilers took away some of the shock, so that leaves only disgust. I feel like taking that scene and describing in depth precisely what was wrong about it, but then again, maybe it's best we try to forget about it.
The waitress told Fred that if you have love, it can't be that bad. Angel's life - among others - could disprove that statement. Cordy had just told Angel that she loves him, yet she went on to say they couldn't be together. When did she get so much other-worldly insight into his past? When we saw her on the higher plane she was looking very bored; she certainly didn't appear to be bearing the burden of "living and feeling" the crimes of Angelus. Beyond that, why did she choose *that* moment to discuss it? In her dream she spoke of trying to tell Angel about what was coming; instead, she hits Angel with that cruel business about "I love you, but I can't get over what you've done."
At the other end of the relationship spectrum, we find Fred and Gunn. Fred rightly refers to Professor Seidel's death as a murder, but she doesn't want to talk about it. She feels responsible, and she really is since Gunn killed the professor for her. Yet, she seems disturbed that Gunn was able to do it. It's almost ironic that in the scene before this one, when Lilah mimics Fred, she calls her "pure." At this point, that word doesn't exactly apply to Fred. Gunn said that it wasn't in Fred's heart to do what he did, but it was. Maybe he thought he could change that by killing the professor himself. However, Fred is still guilty and responsible, but now she also may have changed Gunn into something worse. (Insert your own moral here about the dangers of seeking revenge.)
In happier news, TB's arrival has opposing forces working together. Connor went to Angel about Cordy. Wes approached the A-team about pooling their resources, and Angel approached Lilah for the same purpose. Their combined efforts weren't enough to stop TB that time, but perhaps it will make them stronger next time. True, "next time" is probably of little concern at this point, since the world seemed to be ending, but that didn't worry me. If they ended the world, the rest of the season would be really boring.
* Since Lorne didn't want to read Cordy again, I'm surprised that he would pester Angel to talk to her about her time on the higher plane.
* Did Angel *really* think that business was picking up just because word was out that he had returned?
* I loved Lorne's reactions to the different callers.
* Why did Cordy say "It's coming now" when TB didn't reach the surface until she and Connor were in the alley?
* TB's line about "her" safety is probably what sent Angel to check on Cordelia, where he wound up watching the ick-fest at the end of the ep.