|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Regis Kimble|
|Written by||Tracey Stern|
|Original air date||April 4, 2000|
|List of Angel episodes|
"Eternity" is episode 17 of season 1 in the television show Angel, originally broadcast on the WB television network. In this episode, Angel acts as a bodyguard to a fading actress named Rebecca. When she discovers Angel is a vampire, she begs him to make her eternally young as well - after first slipping him a drug to make him more agreeable to her request. However, the drug-induced euphoria reverts Angel to evil Angelus, and he almost kills Rebecca before Wesley and Cordelia arrive to knock him unconscious.
While attending a play with Cordelia as one of the stars, Angel and Wesley – trapped in the audience – are subjected to Cordelia's minimal acting talent. While leaving the play, they spot a famous actress, Rebecca Lowell, crossing the street. Angel rushes to save her from a car that purposely tries to run her over. Oliver, a producer that represents Rebecca, offers to pay Angel, but he doesn't want a reward.
The papers report on the rescue, but Angel pretends not to care when he is not mentioned. Rebecca shows up at the office the next day, and asks for his help with a stalker fan. Her career is on the rocks, and she'd feel safer if Angel would take care of this case. Cordelia is upset that Angel refused to take the case, and begs Angel to give it a chance so that she can have a jump-start into the life of fame. After a party, Rebecca's stalker shows up on her property, but Angel breaks through a window – having been invited earlier by Rebecca to "drop by any time" – and fights the masked stalker.
Rebecca looks at a mirror and realizes Angel doesn't have a reflection; correctly guessing he is a vampire, she is intrigued rather than scared. That night, Angel attends a premiere with Rebecca, standing as her bodyguard. As they leave, an attacker pulls a gun on them, and Angel fights him off. Rebecca recognizes the attacker as a stunt man and realizes that Oliver set up the stalker for publicity, as her career is in danger as she grows older. She realizes that she won't be able to stay young forever, but Angel's immortality suddenly gives her another option.
After discovering the bullets were blanks, Wesley and Angel conclude that it wasn't a real attack. Rebecca and Cordelia go shopping together, and Cordelia helps Rebecca pick out a bottle of champagne for Angel. That night, while sipping champagne, Rebecca "accidentally" spills some on Angel and he has to go change his shirt. She slips a drug, later revealed to be "doximal", a euphoric, into his drink and they toast and drink when he returns.
Cordelia confesses to Wesley that she told Rebecca all about Angel and how one could become a vampire by him. As the drug takes effect, Rebecca tries to convince Angel to make her a vampire. Angel says she doesn't realize what she's asking of him, and in a sudden burst of rage, he sprays blood into her mouth so she can taste what she's getting into. Angel, realizing something is wrong, asks Rebecca what she has done. She confesses that she slipped a happy pill into his drink hoping that it would make Angel relax. Instead, the pill has given him the feeling of "perfect happiness." No longer Angel, Angelus attacks Rebecca, but she manages to escape through the elevator. Upstairs, she runs into Cordelia and Wesley and reveals to them what she has done. Meanwhile, Angelus goes outside and cuts the power and phones.
In the office, Angelus confronts Rebecca and his two employees. He mocks Wesley for being inadequate, then tells Cordelia how bad she was in the play. She threatens him with water, trying to convince him that it's holy water. The water temporarily stuns him when it hits him, allowing Wesley to knock him down into the elevator shaft. Angel wakes up, chained to his bed, feeling horrible about the things he said. Cordelia reluctantly forgives him, but leaves Angel chained to the bed.
Oliver Simon, Rebecca's manager, was seen in a brief and uncredited appearance in the series pilot "City Of." at Margo's party as the manager who gives Angel his card and disclaims any effort at a come-on.
Originally, Angel was envisioned as being an anthology, with the client of the week providing the emotional center for each episode. However, as the first season progressed, the writers began to concentrate on the emotional interplay between the main characters instead. As producer Tim Minear explains, "You can have an interesting plot and an interesting client, but it's difficult to create sympathy for someone you're introducing for one episode." This episode at first presents events from the guest character's point of view, but "if you look at how the episode ended up," Minear says, "it's really about our core people, and by the end of the episode the client's gone. There's not even a wrap up scene at the end with the actress. It's all about Angel being chained to the bed and Cordelia not untying him." In the first versions of the script, the emotional focus remained on Rebecca for the entire episode, until creator Joss Whedon decided to add the element of Angel going bad. "If that episode had gone before the cameras earlier in the rotation, I think you would have probably seen a different ending, with more emphasis placed on the actress and her problem than on Angel," Minear says.
This episode demonstrates that the "moment of perfect happiness" that triggers Angel's curse does not have to be sexual. As Wesley points out, Angel became Angelus in the episode "Surprise" not because he had sex, but because he was with Buffy. "It is a very fine line that he walks," Minear says. "And if he goes a little bit too far, there is the danger that he will destroy the very people he's connecting with."
This marks the first reappearance of Angelus in the present time since the Buffy episode "Becoming, Part Two". This episode stirs up the feeling among Cordelia and Wesley that Angel's soul is a very fragile thing and he could turn on them at any time. This aspect of mistrust plays heavily in season 2.
This is the first time on Angel that Cordelia is shown to have decent acting skills when necessary, as is seen when she convinces Angelus she is holding holy water.
- A Doll's House: The play in which Cordelia stars at the beginning of this episode is by Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen. Cordelia is playing Nora Helmer, the female lead. The scene shown is from the first act.
- Dracula: At one point, Rebecca says, "Bela Lugosi and Gary Oldman... they're vampires", to which Angel replies, "I thought Frank Langella was the only performance I believed..." They refer to three actors who have played Dracula, Lugosi in Dracula in 1931, Langella in 1979's Dracula and Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992.
Reception and reviews
Minear says, "I know there was a lot of criticism on the Internet about the way he went bad, and did he really go bad?" However, he feels the drug was a good plot device to bring Angelus into the series "so that he could interact with our characters without doing some big ‘Angel has turned evil’ arc. You sort of get to have your cake and eat it too in that episode." He adds, "I saw some criticism about Cordelia reacting too Cordelia-like in the first half of the episode with her star-struckness. But that would be her."
- Gross, Edward (August 14, 2000), "ANGEL: Season One, Episode By Episode with Tim Minear", TimMinear.net, retrieved 10-04-2007
- Gross, Edward (August 28, 2000), "ANGEL: Season One, Episode By Episode with Tim Minear - Part 3", TimMinear.net, retrieved 2007-09-17
- Gross, Edward (September 26, 2000), ANGEL: Season One, Episode By Episode with Tim Minear - Part 4, retrieved 2007-10-15
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