The Belly-Jumper Goddess

4.17. Inside Out, Airdate: 04/02/03 (WB, 8/9c).

The show was great, wasn't it? Anyway, do you recall what I said last week? "I hope Gina Torres won't play Cordy's child, since another adult growing in about five minutes time seems rather lame to me. It even reminds me of those supernatural beings portrayed as Greeks in Angel's season 1 (and, sadly, later on). Why is wearing some sort of toga enough to star as a good or evil god/goddess? Isn't that like some science fiction movie from the sixties?"

I was wrong. The Child didn't wear a toga, but seemed to be wearing nothing. It didn't grow in about five minutes, but was born as an adult. But it is, actually, some kind of supernatural being - and of supernatural power as we have seen. It's some kind of goddess that can convert ordinary (and not-so-ordinary) people into followers.

All people? Well, not quite so. Some of you already wrote to me, suggesting that some of the gang aren't converted, and here's why:

  • Lorne: since he's a demon (actually; not a good reason, because Angel became the first follower and he's partly a demon, too).
  • Wesley: since he has a history of not doing what Angel thinks is best (and he would be capable to stop the Child).
  • Fred: mainly because of plot reasons. She would be able to stop the Child - she's the brainy one, remember?
  • Gunn: he could resist - after all, in 4.16 they gave Gunn more exposition, and perhaps this was the beginning of a series of Gunn centred shows?
  • Gwenn: because - well, why did they introduce her anyway? She was fun to watch, but didn't play an important part so far.
  • Cordy: After the Child left her, she could be herself again - and to redeem herself, it could be her part to defeat the Child. Perhaps she isn't under its influence since she has delieverd it.

I guess, there will only be one who doesn't comply with the going all religious thing the Child brings on. But hey - this week's ep was a classical detective story, just as Angel was intented when Joss and David set together to nail down the concept of AtS years ago. Not so much of a detective part, I have to admit, but plenty of mystery solving. We saw flashbacks of how Cordy did what she did - we saw a flashback, too, at the beginning of Orpheus to illustrate what Faith did. This is pretty much a new layer of visual expression AtS didn't have before, or did it?

Anyway, everyting was part of some master plan - even Connor's birth. Again, as with Dawn, he was not sent to Earth accidentally, but purposely - to procreate the Child. (By the way: "to sire", which is used in the Buffyverse to describe the act of making somebody a vampire, stems from latin "senior", meaning: older one, male ancestor, forefather. So, if we keep to the original meaning of the word, Connor, in a way, is the sire of the Child, or - put another way - sired the Child. If this doesn't accentuate his vampirey nature, I don't know what does.) (BTW: Don't take that too seriously, I know, it means, we're all siring our children in a way.)

Cordy actually is Cordy, but imbued with demoniness - Angel was ready to kill her nevertheless, but Connor didn't let him, and when he finally could have done it, it was too late. But didn't Skip say something like: she'll never be Cordy again as long as the Child isn't born? Well, it is now, so there's a fair chance of Good (or, at least, Bitchy) Cordy returning to AtS. The spell said to bring Angel back was merely casted to put a charm on Lorne, as most viewers already expected.

Well, let's get to the master plan. They seem to carry the idea a bit too far, don't they? What do you think? Even bringing Fred into another dimension, what does that have to do with the Child? And what's coming next? Why is there a master plan, above all? What's the objective? Well, first, to bring forth the Child - and then? What is the Child supposed to do? It actually gathers followers, but why? Is the First Evil involved, and are all those followers merely part of the army of the FE? Or doesn't the Child have to do anything with the First?

In the end all comes down to: Gosh, AtS really is getting damn good. But the staff's now skating on thin ice. A goddess of evil - didn't we see Glory before? Gods in togas - didn't we see that before? (The Child's not going to stay naked througout the season, I guess, and perhaps it's too luring to dress her up in some "godly" stuff which, after all, will only look ridiculous.) Angel on the dark side - didn't we see that just before? It's way weaker than Faith joining the Mayor's team in season 3, since she did it because she wanted to, and not because he put a spell on her. Glory had edges and was fun to watch, though not everybody liked her. Evil Cordy was just plain evil, and that's why most people got all icky when seeing her on screen. She wasn't as original as villains before - think of Lilah or Lindsey, they're all evil, but they have a human touch, they have edges, and in some way we can relate to them. This wasn't the case with Evil Cordy. I hope, the Child will be a villain to love - or to fear - again, and she won't be all nice and smiling and doing evil all day as Evil Cordy did.

Another problem is, character development has been abandoned almost completely. Angel and Connor don't follow the Child because - in any remotely possible way - it's appealing to established inner needs (as Faith did when joining the Mayor), but because she has the power to put some sort of spell upon them. This can prove an obstacle when trying to further uplevel AtS, since normally these are elements of less demanding fantasy serieses such as Xena or Hercules (fun to watch and a tremendous success, but not quite as demanding as BtVS).

Ok, that's it for now. As you know when you're a regular visitor to this website, more is added later on in the feedback section. E-mail me and tell me, what you think about this week's "Inside Out". Was it great or what? What are your feelings about AtS so far?

Shortcuts: AtS 4.17. Inside Out

What happened?
Angel and the gang are trying to question Cordy, but Connor comes down from the ceiling, delievers a hell of a fight against all of them and escapes together with Cordy. He doesn't know why they're up against her, and she says, it's because of the child - they're afraid of it and want to kill it. She even says, Angel's doing all this only because he hates Connor. Angel's switching dimensions once again to meet with Skip, the demon that took Cordy to a higher plane. He pretends Cordy didn't return, saying only a slayer once returned from paradise (remember that?;-)), but when Angel beats him up, brings him to our dimension and threatens him to cast a spell throwing him into a magic prison of agony and torment, he finally admits, Cordy was made evil and not a higher being. Lorne casts some sort of locator spell, and Angel goes to kill Cordy. Meanwhile, TPTB send ghostly Darla back to Connor. He kidnapped a virgin, because Cordy said it's vital to the baby (good thinking skills, the boy, hm?), and Darla tries to talk him into releasing her. When he's about to do just that, Cordy shows up, and he helps her slaughtering the virgin and putting her blood on the belly. Angel shows up, they fight, then there's a beam of light, Cordy falls into some kind of coma and the Child turns out to be a naked female goddess. Angel as well as Connor fall to their knees, admiring her beauty.

Topics addressed?
Lots. We learned that Cordy is Cordy and how she did what she did. We even saw the Child. Unfortunately, no character development.

Any strange things?
When Angel fought with Skip, a chain and a fist were enough to knock Skip out. When the baby was born and there was this earthquake and the circle containing Skip was broken, Wesley fired a gun several times, but Skip turned out to be bullet-proof. Finally Wesley shot through a hole in Skip's head (remainder of a horn Angel broke), but it wasn't explained why Skip's stronger in our dimension than he is in his, which is quite strange. Also, TPTB sent Darla, but why? If all was part of a master plan, why didn't they show up earlier, and, for instance, prevent Angel from working out with Darla? Or at least tell everybody way earlier that Cordy's evil? Very strange they waited that long. Perhaps, Darla wasn't sent by TPTB, but by the FE which is competing with the Child?

Was it good or not?
Yes, it was. Four stakes out of five.

What do you hope for?
I hope, the Child will be developped as a "classical" AtS or BtVS villain, that doesn't need to avoid comparison with the Master, the Mayor or Wolfram&Hart.

Feedback (updated frequently)

The Child: Carl writes, it wasn't a real surprise since Gina Torres was mentioned to guest star, but then didn't turn up until the very end. Indeed. Wil and WillowLittle suggest, the Child is a good goddess, after all, and the ending is cool, because everybody thought, Cordy will give birth to some sort of devilish demon. Darla then was the FE, trying to prevent the birth of the one who is able to defeat her. I don't agree here. Angel and Connor didn't fall to their knees because they recognized her as a goddess. I think, it's a devilish demon (dressed up as a naked beautiful woman, who doesn't like that part anyway?) and it's evil because it takes away free will and makes people pray to her and follow her. If she was good, why would Cordy be killing?

Turning: Lara says, we didn't see yet, if looking at the goddess is enough to be turned or if it was some kind of birth miracle that doesn't happen later on. We also don't know yet if it is permanent. Certainly not, as I'd like to presume, and we don't know either if it is necessary to see the goddess (or if the ban vanishes when not), or if it is limited to a certain amount of time. The question, of course, is: How can somebody resist it? Any ideas? Sent them in!

Who's going to resist? Most readers vote for Wesley, so far. They say, he's most likely to instinctively know something that prevents him to fall under her spell. Number two: Cordy. After all, a common topic in the Jossverse is redemption, and who could redeem herself more than Cordy? Gunn, most of you say, may be strong enough to kill the goddess, but he wouldn't know how. Fred, on the other hand, would know how, but wouldn't be courageous enough to face the goddess. Perhaps Fred and Gunn will face the evil together? Gunn's history with Gwenn could split them up again in a crucial situation, and only by learning to cope with what happened in their relationship, it would be possible to face the Goddess - this involves major character development, and hence could be the way it turns out. Perhaps even Cordy will do her part - perhaps Fred and Gunn have to wake up Cordy somehow, because she knows the one and only weakness of the goddess. The promo's now out, however, and it shows, Fred's the one resisting. Why her? I don't have a clue, but if you have an idea, send it in!

Cordy: She still will have a part in defeating the Child, even though Fred's the one at first resisting. Sara says, when Darla told Connor about how she know how he feels, because they shared a soul, it was fore-shadowing the things to come. Cordy will feel how the goddess feels (and know her weakness) because they shared - well, did they share a soul? Does the Child have one?

Skip: Art says, Skip wasn't any stronger in our dimension. He can be bullet-proof, but he's not immune against getting limbs and horns ripped off.

Character development: Eli maintains, there was some: Angel and Wesley's reconciliation (they talked about Lilah and Angel said, he cares because Wesley did - but didn't he say that before or was it really new?); Gunn and Fred talking about free will, Gunn at ease with what he is because of Gwenn; Angel making the choice of killing the woman he loved (yes, but who thought they'd surprise us so much as to actually really kill Cordy?); Connor choosing sides against his consciousness, because he needs the feeling to belong somewhere (that's right, but isn't that exactly why Cordy was able to exploit him even before or was it really new?).

Rating: I was surprised how upset most of you were that I gave four stakes out of five. Most of you said, it was the worst show on AtS so far, the birth was the lamest ever in any series, and above all "Inside Out" shouldn't get more than 2.5 or 3 stakes. Perhaps, I would have said so myself, but I had to learn, that AtS - contrary to BtVS - plays with cliches by first going along with it, and than undercutting it in any way. Like when Faith drugged herself. She fell prey to Angelus, just before defeating him - pretty much cliched, but then it turned out she drugged him. That's why I try not to rate AtS based on all the cliched plot-points we had this week. Next week's ep has a very difficult task, because it has to show us, what was behind all those cliches. I don't know why they do it that way, however, since I know of many people who don't turn in for AtS anymore, because when they do, they only see cliched fantasy action, and most of them don't trust the series enough to turn in again and wait how the staff's solving it. The story-telling has been weak, but not as weak as in season 3, and it's getting better, even damn good. I hope there will be a fifth season, and I hope Joss will be around to take care of the scripts, at least more than they do now.

Tom Ahrendt


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