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Through the Looking Glass

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Angel
Season 2, Episode 21
A02 21
Air date May 15, 2001
Written by Tim Minear
Directed by Tim Minear
Episode Guide
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"Over the Rainbow"
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Cast
Starring
David Boreanaz Angel
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
Alexis Denisof Wesley
J. August Richards Gunn
Guest Starring
Andy Hallett The Host
Amy Acker Fred
Brody Hutzler Landok
Tom McCleister Lorne's Mother
Mark Lutz Groosalugg
Michael Phenicie Silas
Co Starring
Adoni Maropis Rebel Leader
Brian Tahash Constable
Andrew Parks Priest #1
Danan Pere Rebel #1
Joss Whedon Numfar
Uncredited
Craig Appel Demon Soldier
Jackson Bolt Pylean
Rachelle Roderick Slave

"Through the Looking Glass" is the twenty-first episode of the second season of Angel and the forty-third episode overall. Written and directed by Tim Minear, it was originally broadcast on May 15, 2001 on the WB network.

Trapped in the Pylea dimension, Angel and the group work overtime to survive, starting when Cordelia finds herself appointed ruling princess of Pylea by an order of priests and ordered to mate with a creature called the Groosalugg. Meanwhile, Angel saves a runaway human slave, and Wesley and Gunn manage to escape from the castle only to end up as captives of human Pylean rebels plotting to overthrow the monarchy.

Synopsis

Angel, Wesley, and Gunn are shocked to see Cordelia has been crowned princess of Pylea. She jokingly demands their heads be cut off, but quickly clarifies she is joking. After she dismisses the guards, Cordelia recounts how she became princess due to her visions. Lorne confirms his people have a prophecy that a messiah will come who is cursed with the sight, and who will save them all. Angel discovers that he can see himself in mirrors, and becomes very unhappy about his hair.

Lorne takes Angel to his family's house, where his family starts to chase Lorne away, as they consider him to be a traitor. However, his cousin, Landok identifies Angel as a hero, and the people celebrate Angel, who is made the special guest of their upcoming village feast. He then tells stories of his adventures to the people of Pylea while Lorne is ignored. Landok offers Angel the honor of "swinging the crebbil in the Bach-nal," and Angel agrees to take part. But when he arrives, he discovers that it means beheading a human so the people of Pylea can feast on her. Winifred “Fred” Burkle is brought forth, but Angel refuses to kill her. Instead, he grabs her to escape, and Lorne makes good the escape by singing "Stop, In the Name of Love," which causes severe pain to the Pyleans--theirs is a world without music (but with dancing, albeit very bad dancing).

While perusing the castle library, Wesley discovers "the cursed one" will have to perform something called a "com-shuk" with a Groosalugg. He considers asking the priests to translate the book, until he realizes it is part of a three-volume book marked with a different animal on the cover of each volume. The three animals are wolf, ram and hart, meaning that the books (and therefore the priests) likely have some connection to the demon lawfirm that plagues them back in Los Angeles. Wesley concludes that they cannot trust the priests. Silas, one of the priests, arrives to inform Cordelia that the Groosalugg has been summoned and that the "com-shuk" is a mating ritual. Wesley, Gunn, and Cordelia try to escape through a sewer tunnel, but Cordelia is caught by the priests and dragged back to her throne. Heavily guarded, Cordelia worries about mating with the demon, until Silas introduces the Groosalugg, who turns out to be a handsome and muscular young male who looks fully human.

Fred leads Angel to a cave where she has been hiding for a long while. Fred talks nervously as she crazily scribbles on the cave walls. Angel finds Fred's driver's license and realizes she is the girl from Cordy's vision, and that her scribbles are advanced physics, as she had been a graduate student in the field back in LA. She doesn't believe him when he tells her of her life in LA and how she got to Pylea, because she is too traumatized--she thinks she has been decapitated in the square, or has gone crazy. Angel convinces her that this is not true, and that he can rescue her. They make their way to the castle, but are attacked by guards. To fight them, he shifts into his vampire mode, but instead of merely getting sharp teeth and a somewhat distorted forehead and nose, he becomes pure demon, a mindless green creature with spikes and ridges on his face, and he brutally rips through the guard's body with his super-sized teeth. The other runs and Angel takes off as well, leaving Fred frightened and alone. Wesley and Gunn wander around lost, looking for Angel, until they are attacked by a green demon wearing Angel's clothes. It takes a while before Wesley recognizes Angel's tattoo. A short distance away, Fred coats her hand in blood and is able to lure Angel away from his friends with the smell. Demon Angel sees his reflection in water at Fred's cave and is suddenly motivated to switch back to human form. Gunn and Welsey are surrounded and tied up by rebel humans who want to send a message to the castle--they believe that Wesley and Gunn are spy-cows. Gunn and Wesley try to convince the rebels that they know the princess and suggest they use them to contact her. The rebels agree, but their idea involves decapitating the men and putting a note in the mouths of their severed heads. Fred comforts Angel as he painfully deals with the aftermath of being controlled by the demon inside of him. He concludes that his friends saw what he really was and now he can never go back to them.

The Groosalugg tells Cordelia that his human qualities make him unappealing to his people, so he battled with demons to end his existence, but instead of being killed by them, he defeated them, winning great honor as a warrior and earning the title of Groosalugg for his bravery and strength. Cordelia is smitten! Lorne is brought before Cordelia for judgment and he is almost sentenced to death, but Cordelia pardons him and then kicks him out so she can be alone with her future mate. Cordelia explains to the Groosalugg that she is not a princess, but he doesn't believe her because he sees that she fulfills the prophecy. This emboldens her and she decides to start writing proclamations and laws for the people of Pylea. Silas tells his fellow priests that the princess has requested paper so she can write proclamations. He is angry at her independent will and goes into her chamber and kicks out Groosalugg. He tells her she and Groosalugg are just tools and she will do what she is told. Cordelia refuses to accept that, until she is shocked into silence as Silas reveals Lorne's severed head displayed on the platter.

Continuity

  • This is the only episode of either show not to have any scenes in the Earth dimension.
  • Cordelia complains that she keeps meeting demons who want to impregnate her with their spawn. This has actually happened twice to Cordelia (in "Expecting" and in "Epiphany"). It came to fruition in a sense as Cordelia gave birth to Connor's offspring by the end of the episode "Inside Out".
  • When Angel looks in to the mirror, he attempts to flatten his hair. Ironically enough, the general poofiness of his hair is something Spike mocks him for many times. 
  • Cordelia mentions that her parents were busted for tax fraud and that her trust fund dried up.
  • When Angel is telling stories to the Pyleans, he refers to the events of the first season finale, "To Shanshu in L.A.", in which Angel cuts off Lindsey McDonald's hand in order to save the Scrolls of Aberjian. In the story, he refers to Lindsey as a "lawyer-beast." There is also a reference to the events of I Fall to PiecesLandok asks Angel to tell the story of the "sorcerer who could remove his limbs and reassemble at will."

Body Count

  • a demon guard, killed by Angel in Van-Tal form

Appearences

Locations

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • Joss Whedon performed the role of Lorne's brother, Numfar, who performed the dance of joy and dance of honor for a while on camera.

Pop Culture References

  • The Blair Witch Project: Gunn: "You havin' a Blair Witch moment?"
  • Hans Christian Andersen , Quentin Tarantino : After Angel is finished regaling the Pyleans with tales of his triumphs against Wolfram & Hart, Lorne says Angel's a "Hans Christian Tarantino," referring to both the fairy tale nature of his stories (in the eyes of the Pyleans at least) and to the graphic violence that is a hallmark of director Quentin Tarantino.

Music

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • In the scene where Fred and the Angelbeast are battling the guard, there is a shot where Amy Acker's microphone battery pack is clearly visible beneath her costume.
  • After the Angelbeast rips the guard's leg off, the wide shot following shows the guard that Angel is attacking with both legs intact.
  • When Lorne and Angel go to meet Lorne's mom, there's a cardboard box with a red top, and a yellow object in the lower left corner of the screen next to the tree. In the reverse angle the object disappears, but reappears in the wide angle of Angel and Lorne walking up the hill.

Other

  • Angel is encouraged to behead Fred in the village center, with Landok telling him, "It is a great honor to swing the crebbil at the Bach-nal." Landok also says, "Strike quickly and true, Angel, then we can eat." The word suggests bacchanal, a revel for the Greco-Roman god Bacchus. Certainly the bacchanalia festivals included eating and drinking. It is typical of Pylea - which is apparently tainted by the Wolf, Ram, and Hart - that the party would start by killing a "cow," as the humans are called.
Constable Narwek - "Shall we gut the cows now that you might dine on their ignoble flesh, O Most High?"
Cordelia - "You're most high if you think that's gonna happen. Besides, shouldn't there be some extended groveling first?"
Angel - "Cordelia."
Cordelia - "Okay. Off with their heads! (Swords are drawn) Kidding!"
Angel - "Okay. (flattens hair) This is because of going through the portal, right?"
Cordelia - "No. It always looks like that."
Wesley - "Angel, while we search for the proper incantation it might save time if you go with the Host. Hit the streets, see if you can document any portal activity."
Angel - "I don't get it."
Wesley - "Well, the Host knows this world. We need to ascertain -"
Angel - "No, I mean why didn't anybody tell me about this?" flattens hair
Cordelia - "You look good."
Angel - "You're not just saying that, are you?"

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