Angel: Season 4, Episode 18

Shiny Happy People (9 Apr. 2003)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Fantasy
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 404 users  
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When the demon Cordelia gives birth to turns out to be a saintly, beautiful woman, all who lay eyes on her become entranced by her spell. With Cordelia in a coma, Angel and the gang help ... See full summary »

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Vamp Leader
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Storyline

When the demon Cordelia gives birth to turns out to be a saintly, beautiful woman, all who lay eyes on her become entranced by her spell. With Cordelia in a coma, Angel and the gang help the new, unnamed prophet create the perfect Utopian L.A. But as every spell is a deception, even the most peaceful and reasonable ideals may conceal the darkest of secrets. Written by TheGreenSaga

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9 April 2003 (USA)  »

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Trivia

As a sign of how shiny and happy he is, Angel appears not in his usual dark shirt, but, very unusually, in a buttoned shirt with white and yellow stripes. See more »

Quotes

Winifred 'Fred' Burkle: Eight legs, three heads, horns?
Lorne: Hey!
Winifred 'Fred' Burkle: No offense.
Connor: Two legs, one head, no horns.
Lorne: Let me guess, green?
Angel: No. Kind of... mocha.
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References I Remember Mama (1948) See more »

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Birth pains??

It is disappointing when fantasy shows resort to some nonsensical explanation of why significant events in a show occur.

Let's recap: Cordelia was brought down from heaven to have sex with Connor in order to bring forth a baby; Angelus was brought back in order to find out why a devilish creature was harassing Los Angeles; the sun had been blocked by the aforementioned fiend resulting in an influx of demons and vampires, and the human population of L.A. has severely diminished due to this. In the previous episode, Cordelia gave birth to a grown woman after she and Connor performed a blood ritual (a motif this season to take note of, by the way), after which Angel knelt to say "You're beautiful," followed by an emulous Connor (I guess the reason he knelt before this mysterious woman was partly to imitate Angel and partly because he was exhausted after assisting in the death of a young woman, since we know later that he is, SPOILER, not under Jasmine's spell, END SPOILER). After "Shiny Happy People," we are to assume the reason that everything in my run-on sentence came to pass was, to quote Jasmine (the lady whom Cordy birthed), because of "birth pains." The lackadaisical writers further explain this nonsense away by saying that everything big that has ever happened to Angel and his close friends, from the religious Buffy episode "Amends" to Doyle passing the power of visions onto Cordelia, was manipulated to happen by Jasmine so that she could come to being and rule the world.

This, in effect, cheapens the impact of all of the incidents over the seasons that made me fall in love with the show. For instance, in the episode "The Trial," on which I promise not to go into too much detail, Angel undergoes a series of trials fighting for Darla's second chance at life, but he learns in the end that all he has done was for naught as Darla is already living her second chance. Later in the episode, Wolfram & Hart bring back a familiar face to kill Darla, leading to Angel's depression and the brilliant, grossly underrated Dark Angel arc. In "Shiny Happy People," we learn that Angel's actions in The Trial were not fruitless as Connor, the child of Angel and Darla, is Darla's second chance. I have to admit that it is immensely gratifying to finally understand why Connor, the product of two vampires, is alive, but this is devalued when we learn that Jasmine was the one who essentially brought him to being.

Jasmine, as we figure out in this episode, has the power to hypnotize people into fulfilling her will (and sending people, namely Cordelia, to heaven) because she was one of the Powers That Be, the entities who, through Doyle, are responsible for persuading Angel to connect to and use his power to help humanity. She quit the PTB as they were too "hands-offish" for her taste, and she prefers a more direct approach to make people peaceful, though this direct way takes away humanity's greatest gift, free will. Jasmine, with the ability to entrance, is truly the ideal metaphor for the leader of a cult, but the episode falls short in that it cheapens Angel's character development. No need for alarm, though, since the arc that comes immediately after this episode provides plenty food for thought and might be among the most underrated arcs of Angel's entire run. In fact, the reconditeness commences in this very episode when Fred is no longer under Jasmine's thrall, the reason for which we will find out in the next installment.


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