Inside Out (Angel)
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|Directed by||Steven S. DeKnight|
|Written by||Steven S. DeKnight|
|Original air date||April 2, 2003|
"Inside Out" is episode 17 of season four in the television show Angel. Written and directed by Steven S. DeKnight, it was originally broadcast on April 2, 2003 on the WB network. Angel roughs up the demon guide Skip to find out why Cordelia has turned evil. Skip tells them a higher being has manipulated events over the past few years to cause itself to be reborn. Meanwhile, Cordelia convinces Connor to mystically expedite the birth using the blood of a virgin. Angel arrives in time to stop him, but hesitates, and Cordelia gives birth to a full grown woman.
Cordelia is in the basement of the Hyperion, surrounded by the team, who have figured out that she was the Beast's master. She brags that there was a time when she would have figured out that they were using Lorne as bait eons before it even crossed their minds; she claims to be a lot smarter than Angel. She asks what tipped Angel off and he replies, "Tongue, slip of." In a flashback, Cordelia tells the gang about the baby and calling it "my sweet." Angel says that this was the same phrase the Beast's master used when she talked to Angelus. Cordelia is surprised that she was almost able to end the world and it was two words that tipped him off. Angel demands to know where the real Cordelia is. Connor jumps down through the glass roof and Angel tries to convince him that Cordelia isn’t who he thinks she is, but he doesn’t listen. He fights off the gang, and runs off with Cordelia. In the confusion, Angel is accidentally hit with a tranquillizer dart intended for Connor. "What are you?" Angel manages to ask, before passing out, and Lorne's Magic 8-Ball rolls next to him, replying, "Ask Again Later."
After the group has recovered from Connor's attack, Gunn returns to the hotel from his romp with Gwen and they fill him in. Fred and Wesley realize Cordelia has been "grooming Connor as her champion." They wonder when Cordelia turned evil and if her amnesia upon returning from the higher plane was an act or a side effect. Angel points out that nothing happened until Lorne gave Cordelia the memory potion in "Spin the Bottle." Lorne realizes that Wolfram & Hart stole information from his head to keep the gang from knowing about the Beast's master.
Gunn wonders how Cordelia could get away with killing Manny, since she didn't have any blood on her clothes; Wesley determines that she took off her clothes first. She was then able to slip out, kill the Svea priestesses, and steal Angel's soul. Her vision of how to re-ensoul Angel was misdirection, so that she could put a spell on Lorne and keep him from reading Angelus properly. She then released Angelus from the cage and killed Lilah. The gang wonder what exactly Cordelia is pregnant with.
Cordelia and Connor head to a deserted warehouse, where Cordelia tells Connor that the gang were trying to hurt her "You were right about Angel," she tells him. "He's an animal, and he's turned everyone against us." He promises he’ll kill all of them before he lets them hurt her. "My sweet, sweet boy," she replies. Angel returns to the Hyperion, having had no success finding Cordelia and Connor. Wesley tells him that he's wasting his time looking for them; Connor will stay hidden if he wants to. Angel is distraught that the truth was in front of him the whole time, but Wesley says that Cordelia played on his emotions in order to cloud his judgment. Wesley suggests going to the Powers That Be, but Angel reminds him that the last few times he's gone, they haven’t been forthcoming. He says that they wouldn't stop Cordelia because they "didn’t want to get their hands dirty," so they need to find someone who's willing to: "somebody right in the middle of all this." Angel goes to ask Skip about Cordelia and at first, Skip pretends to be clueless. As they talk, Angel suspects Skip is part of a conspicuous act to keep them in the dark and protect whatever it is that Cordelia's doing. Angel eventually defeats Skip and hauls him back to his (Angel's) dimension.
Cordelia suggests they perform a ritual to speed up her pregnancy and bring the baby to life immediately. Connor rescues a young girl from a vampire attack, but then knocks her out and brings her, unconscious, to Cordelia, so that they can use her blood in the ritual. However, a vision of Connor's dead mother Darla appears before him, claiming to be sent by the Powers. She explains why she couldn't be part of his life, then tries to convince him that killing an innocent is the wrong choice.
After Skip wakes up, trapped by a magical circle, Fred and Angel threaten him with the Sphere of the Infinite Agonies until Skip confesses Cordelia is not in control of her own body. Cordelia didn't ascend to a higher plane because she was a good deserving soul, it was because she was a part of the plan all along. Skip explains all the big events in their lives have been designed for a much bigger purpose: Cordy receiving the visions, Lorne leaving Pylea, Gunn's sister being sired, Fred going to Pylea, and Wesley sleeping with Lilah. Gunn argues that they have free will, but Skip says only about little stuff. The team realize that Connor's birth was also a part of the whole plan; "an impossible birth to make one possible." Angel says that Connor was a vessel and Gunn realizes that the being controlling Cordelia is going to give birth to itself. Angel asks how to stop this being, but Skip tells him that the only way is to kill Cordelia. When she gives birth to the being, the strain will be too much and she'll either die or become incapacitated.
Gunn tries to reassure Fred that even though it appears their future is out of their hands, they always need to act as if the decisions are theirs because they may never know when they will be. After Wesley and Lorne locate Cordelia, Angel arms himself and prepares to leave. He refuses to let any of the others go with him, unable to let them carry the burden of killing Cordelia.
Darla coaches Connor as he starts to free the young girl, but Cordelia catches him and realizes that Darla is trying to turn him away from her. Connor finds himself in the middle as Darla and Cordelia fill his head with opposing suggestions until Connor can't take anymore and sides with Cordelia, grabbing the girl and dragging her into the other room. Cordelia slashes the woman's throat with a cleaver - Connor sees the woman as Darla and stares at the scene before him, reality hitting him. Then Cordelia has Connor coat his hand in the dead woman's blood and place it on her stomach. The bloody print is soaked into Cordy's skin, her labor begins and everything begins to shake around them.
The circle around Skip breaks and he attacks the others; Wesley shoots him dead after finding an open spot. Angel arrives at the factory, intent upon destroying Cordelia before she can have the baby, but Connor stands in his way. Angel and Connor fight with each other while Cordelia struggles with labor. After tossing Connor aside, Angel raises his sword to kill Cordelia but a bright light sends him and Connor flying back. The being using Cordy's body rises in the form of a full-grown, nude, dark-skinned woman. Angel raises his sword again to kill this being, but on sight of her, he drops to his knees with Connor, seemingly awestruck.
The costume for Skip took three and a half hours to put on, and required an additional five hours of makeup. Although David Denman hated the process, he was "surprised and very excited" after learning that Skip was actually a villain.
Julie Benz was called back to reprise her role as Darla, in her first and only scene with Vincent Kartheiser, who plays her character's son. "I loved the dynamic between the two of them," Benz says. "Darla really is the mother who gave up everything for her son and he doesn't appreciate it." To subtly emphasize that Darla finally achieved redemption, the wardrobe department had Darla wear a soft, virginal dress, and lit her in warm candlelight. Benz explains that she attempted to convey "the pure love that exists in a relationship between mother and son. It's an unconditional love, and it’s probably the most simple relationship Darla has ever had."
Reception and reviews
Author Peter David said he was "underwhelmed" by the suggestion that all events of consequence in the series had been manipulated so that Jasmine could be born. "That's pushing predestination to the point where it seems that every decision the characters have made was fated," he complains. However actor David Denman, who plays Skip, calls this episode "probably the best so far. You find out what Skip's all about and where he's from."
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