Angel: Season 3, Episode 11

Birthday (14 Jan. 2002)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
8.5
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It's Cordy's birthday and a particularly intense vision knocks her out of her body. As Team Angel tries to help her, Cordy is stuck in an astral plane unable to communicate. When a guide ... See full summary »

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It's Cordy's birthday and a particularly intense vision knocks her out of her body. As Team Angel tries to help her, Cordy is stuck in an astral plane unable to communicate. When a guide shows up and offers Cordy a deal, she has to choose between getting everything she thought she wanted and her life with Angel. Written by katierose295

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14 January 2002 (USA)  »

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Marti Noxon:  Cordelia's friend in the opening credits of 'Cordy'. See more »

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When Wesley is bent over after having stabbed the demon (at around 1 min) his left arm is visible beneath his shirt, bent behind his back. See more »

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[first lines]
Cordelia Chase: I'd just like to say thank you. You believed in me when no one else would. Even in my darkest hours, you were there for me, and that means more to me than you'll ever know. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, "I love you". To all my fans, this is for you!
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References Gladiator (2000) See more »

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Another Birthday in the Buffyverse
24 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Birthdays in the Buffyverse are not a time for celebration. They're a time to hunker down and pray. Something always goes wrong and wackiness always ensues. (See BTVS season two's "Suprise" and "Innocence," season three's "Helpless," season four's "A New Man," season five's "Family" and "Blood Ties," and season six's "Older and Faraway.") Likewise, alternate realities are usually bad news. (See BTVS season three's "The Wish" and "Dopplegangland.") So, when we get an episode called "Birthday" and Cordy casting ANOTHER lets-change-the-past wish, all we can do is brace for the mayhem. Really, this is an excellent episode that redefines Cordelia. After this she's got the headaches caused by her visions under control, but she's also part demon... And starting down a very dangerous path. If you're planning to watch any of season four, you need to see this episode as it sets up a lot of stuff. It also reinforces how much Angel needs Cordy if he's going to keep fighting and stay connected to the world. Without Cordelia, he'd fall apart. Something that will be revisited again in season five.

Basically, "Birthday" revolves around Cordelia's visions. She has one right in the middle of the party that Team Angel throws her. Cordy is thrown backwards by the force of the vision and is knocked out cold. When she wakes up, she's outside of her body in an astral plane. As the others try to wake her body, they begin to realize how ill the visions have been making her. Wes is afraid that she's dying and Angel demands that Lorne contact the conduit to the PTB so he can beg for Cordy's life.

Meanwhile, Cordy is desperate to tell them about her vision. She tries to write the address of the girl in danger on a wall by briefly taking over Angel's body, but the others don't notice. Skip, the demon from the hell dimension in "That Vision Thing," shows up to talk to Cordy. He explains that the visions will kill her and she must give them up. If she never met Angel, than she'd be safe. She'd be a popular actress, with a legion of fans and no life threatening headaches. After Cordy misunderstands Angel's argument with the conduit, she agrees to rewrite history.

Suddenly, she's starring on her own TV show "Cordy!" and loving the limelight. She doesn't remember her old life. Still, there's a small part of her knows that something's not right. She ends up at the Hyperion and sees the address on the wall. She goes to help the girl and runs into Wes and Gunn. They're fighting demons and after reminiscing about Sunnydale, Wes takes Cordy to see Angel. He has the visions and they've driven him crazy. Cordelia is horrified and kisses Angel. She regains her memory and demands that Skip return her to her old life. He says that it will only work if she agrees to be part demon. Cordy agrees and wakes up in her old life, surrounded by her friends.

There are some great parts in this episode. I'm always happy to "see" Dennis. And Wes is kind of funny as a hard, one-armed demon hunter. (He lost a limb battling that Kungi demon back in "Parting Gifts," since Cordy wasn't there to get the vision.) It's sort of a sign of things to come. And I really like Cordy's cake with the super hero on it. Also, I love Skip in this episode, talking about movies and joking around with Cordy. (And it's sort of ironic that he liked the Agents in "The Matrix," considering Trinity shoots one in the head, as a recall.) Also, Doyle is mentioned several times in this episode and I'm glad that the show remembers how important he was to Angel and Cordy. Plus, I'm always up for some Sunnydale references and Cordy and Wes reminiscing about their kiss in "Graduation Day Part Two" is hilarious.

Mostly, I like Angel and Cordy in this episode, though. Personally, I think that Angel loves Cordelia more than anyone. The thought of losing her nearly drives him insane. His scene at her bedside is really beautiful... In a strange sort of way. He does start it with "Cordelia, you really p*ss me off." Then, he tells the conduit that he's more scared of Cordy dying than she is. "What's that mean?" He asks softly and it just breaks my heart. Cordy meanwhile gives up everything she ever wanted and sacrificed her humanity to ensure that Angel would be safe. I flat-out love them together.

I think the episode is all about facades and not taking things at face value. Cordy's medicine cabinet didn't show Fred and Gunn the truth, they had to find the medicines hidden under her bed. Angel might've seemed to be belittling Cordy to the Conduit, but really he was trying to save her. Cordy had to rip up the wall paper to see the truth underneath of it. Really the list goes on and on. On "Angel" things are often not what they seem, and misunderstandings between the characters will lead to tragic results this season.

On the downside, how is that house number still on the Hyperion wall in the alternate reality? I don't get it. Also, trying to tie this episode in with the season four storyline gives me a headache of my own. And I do think that Angel was kinna harsh with Lorne, but he was upset about Cordy, so I'm willing to cut him some slack.

My favorite part of the episode: The opening credits to "Cordy." If that silly, peppy, incredibly catchy theme song was on iTunes, I'd have already downloaded it.


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