Angel - Expecting

Summary

Cordelia is getting ready for a night out. Angel is trying to understand her strange filing system which has Mrs. Benson filed under F because she was French. Wesley arrives with his new ax, eager for a Cordelia vision. Since she hasn't had one, he suggests playing with Word Puzzle 3D, which he has brought along. But Cordelia is set for a night on the town and her two girlfriends (Sarina and Emily) arrive at that moment. Wesley clearly finds them attractive. They discover Cordelia has been dating Wilson Christopher, a fashion photographer, but has never mentioned him. Angel asks about him, but Cordelia has a vision. He and Wesley cover for her, making desperate small talk with the girls. They think he and Wesley are gay. She tells them of her vision, a big baby with claws hatching from an egg. She gives them the address and leaves with her friends. Angel lets Wesley come with him.

They go to the address Cordelia gave them, but there is just an ordinary couple there. They break in and then try to cover up by pretending to be exterminators. The monster is actually next door. They spot it and defeat it. Wesley asks Angel if he thinks Cordelia isn't taking matters too lightly, but Angel seems ok with it. He gets Wesley off the topic by telling him the girls found him attractive and the whole gay thing just adds mystery.

At the club, Emily is bored, but Cordelia is having a great time. She's parked on a sofa with Wilson having one of those conversations the people in Lonely Hearts dreamt of. He seems interested in her and she tells him all about herself. He drives her home and she invites him in. Dennis, the ghost she lives with, clearly doesn't like Wilson and keeps turning the lights on high and turning off the romantic music. Cordelia tells Dennis to stop it or she'll punish him by playing Evita around the clock, the one with Madonna. But Wilson is unfazed and pretty soon they are in bed together. Cordelia wakes up alone, almost. She's very, very pregnant.

Cordelia is late for work, very late, and Angel and Wesley go to her place. They break in and find her still in bed. She explains what happened. She calls Wilson for Angel, but the number is no longer in service. Angel tells Wesley to take Cordelia for a prenatal exam. He's going to look for Wilson. He goes to the club and talks to the bartender. The bartender doesn't want his money, but does tell him that Sarina is the one he should see.

At the doctor's, Cordelia is very nervous. The ultrasound reveals a multiple pregnancy and the doctor wants to take some amniotic fluid just to check that everything is ok. Meanwhile, Angel is at Sarina's and discovers that she, too, is pregnant. She's trying to drink her troubles away. When the doctor takes the amniotic fluid, it burns through the syringe and then through the floor. Cordelia asks Wesley if the babies look healthy. Sarina tells Angel that the money Wilson and his friends gave her smelled.

Wesley takes Cordelia to Angel's. She realizes he's afraid. She also realizes she's carrying seven inhuman children. Angel returns and Wesley tells him about the multiple pregnancy. Angel is looked for gun clubs, Sarina said the guys belonged to a private club. He tells Wesley to try to work out the type of demon that has impregnated the girls. As they walk by the kitchen, they see Cordelia drinking a glass of blood - even Angel finds this gross.

Angel finds Wilson at his club. He realizes he's human and just the conduit for the demon. He tries beating the truth out of him, but Wilson's friends show up. Meanwhile, Wesley has identified the demon and tells Cordelia there is a good chance they can stop the pregnancy. She knocks him out, saying he's not going to hurt her babies. Wilson and his friends admit to being a proxy for the demon and shoot Angel. He puts on his vampire face and beats them up and gets the information on where to find the demon out of Wilson.

Cordelia and the other impregnated women gather at the demon's lair. Angel calls Wesley, who's awakened by the ringing phone, and tells him what he's learnt. Wesley says the demon is a hacksaw beast and tells him about Cordelia. During this conversation, Angel is picking the bullets out of himself. Angel is outside the building where the demon and the woman are. They realize the demon is telepathically connected to its offspring and that is how it is controlling the women. If they can break the telepathic connection, the pregnancies will end without harming the women. Only the demon seems impossible to kill.

Inside, Cordelia and the others put on these white robes and climb into a pool of some vile smelling liquid. Wesley shows up and then so does the demon, it's huge. Wesley challenges it. He stalls for time. Angel shows up with a cannister of liquid nitrogen which he hurls at the demon, who catches it. Wesley shoots a hole in it. The nitrogen freezes the demon, breaking the telepathic link. The pregnancies vanish and Cordelia climbs out of the pool and hurls a cannister at the now frozen demon, shattering it.

At the office, Cordelia returns after taking a couple of days. Wesley is busy tidying her desk and Angel has got her some magazines. They've written welcome back Cordelia on the message board. She tells them she had an audition and she's the first choice of the director. She's going on a date with him that night. And to get the part she just has to let him impregnate her with his demon master's seed. She's kidding and tells them she's ok and a lot stronger than those demon surrogate losers thought. She says she learnt something. She learnt that men are evil - but she already knew that. She learnt LA is full of self serving phonies - but she knew that as well. She learnt sex is bad, but Angel points out they all knew that. Finally, she says she learnt that there are two people she can trust with her life. This makes Wesley cry and Angel smile.

Analysis

In The Zeppo, Xander made it pretty clear he was a virgin until Faith. And given the intensity of the Cordelia/Xander relationship, I can't believe that a nonvirgin Cordelia would not have had sex with Xander. And after Xander, there was no relationship to speak of for Cordelia, just wishful thinking on the part of Wesley. In this episode, she makes it clear she hasn't been dating and that she has never had anyone over to her place. And I'm positive she would not have brought anyone over to the dingy, cockroach infested place she used to live in. So, I believe Cordelia was a virgin until this episode.

Now, someone has pointed out to me that in the Buffyverse, first time sex is almost always a mistake. You've got Buffy and Angel - leading to the repeal of the curse and the rebirth of the evil Angelus. You've got Faith and Xander - which basically was Faith using and hurting Xander. You've got the one positive experience - Willow and Oz. And now you have Cordelia and the demon worshiper. If you have a teenager daughter and you don't want her to have sex, Buffy/Angel are shows you want to force her to watch.

The question is why does Cordelia choose this time and this guy to lose her virginity? Well, I think Cordelia lives in a fairytale. Not surprising when you consider her boss is a vampire and her friends have consisted of a demon (Doyle) and a rogue demon hunter (Wesley). When Cordelia says she expected to come to LA and meet her prince charming who would magically solve all her problems - I don't think she's kidding. And in this episode, she meets a guy who looks like he might be the one. He's good looking, rich, successful, and apparently sensitive and thoughtful. He's clearly a prince among men, Cordelia is obviously a princess, so a visit to the royal bedchamber makes sense. Only this fairytale, like most fairytales, has a very dire ending with a strong moral.

When she's talking to Wilson, Cordelia says that she expected to come to LA and meet that guy with the big bag of fame and success. Ironically, Wilson met that guy and he's a demon. Wilson and his friends are exactly like Cordelia - they came to LA with a dream. Only unlike her they made a pact with evil to get it. Cordelia has a lot of shortcomings, but she's not dumb enough to think success or happiness comes from a deal with the devil.

The original Dracula was a story about sex. It dealt with an old man who snuck into the bedrooms of young woman and exchanged bodily fluids with them, to their ruin. More recently, vampire stories have become metaphors for disease - especially sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. When Cordelia assures Angel and Wesley that her sex with Wilson was safe - very safe - the disease metaphor comes across clearly. In this instance, the story is a little different. The vampire is the cleansing agent - Angel both cures her of her disease (in this case the demon pregnancy which if gone to term would have killed her) and agrees with her when she says sex is bad.

A good argument could be made that Angel is really about Cordelia more than Angel. Angel, after all, cannot change. He's stuck as the vampire with a soul fighting the forces of darkness. But Cordelia is in a constant state of change. When she arrived in LA, she was the self centred incredibly arrogant Cordelia we have all come to know. Since then, she has demonstrated sympathy for others, actually cared for Doyle, and has realized how important Angel and Wesley are to her. She's grown enormously as a person, something Angel joked about in City of but which is real now. Before the series ends, she may even learn how to file.

Some quick final thoughts. Cordelia saw Dr. Wasserman. The Wasserman test was one of the early tests for sexually transmitted disease. Which makes the whole disease metaphor even more apt. Was there something else going on with that bartender or was he just the one actually nice guy in LA? Why does a demon require the surrogate mothers of its children to put on white robes? And how come Cordelia's robe looked dry when she climbed out of that pool? The smear of lipstick on Cordelia's face at the start of the episode looked an awful lot like the smear of blood on her face when she was drinking the blood from Angel's fridge. Which may be just accidental or may be an attempt to make a parallel between dating and vampirism.

Lines of the week:

"Do you think a Tahval demon leaves a hefty security deposit?"
"I'm sure of it." - Wesley and Angel justifying their wanton destruction of private property.

"I don't think I've ever realized just how disgusting that was." - Angel on watching others drink blood.

"I really hate dating." - Cordelia summing it all up.

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