|Warning: this page contains info about episodes up through season 2 BtVS/season 2 AtS. If you're in danger of being spoiled, proceed with caution.|
Vampire hierarchical structures: Doug Sanders uses the motivational speaking skills and unethical pyramid schemes developed by his human predecessor in his capacity as a master vampire. He is a "fully actualized" predator, motivating other vampires to "actualize their potential" as predators as well. His "cult" is new twist on the familiar vampire social system. Vampires earn their place in his hierarchy by kidnapping three humans. Two are turned into vampires, one is delivered to a co-operative "food bank". The colors on the member's robes are generational markers--they indicate how many new generations that vampire has spawned, and thus his/her position in the pyramid.
Are unsouled vampires capable of redemption?
VampHarmony arrives in LA seeking direction from whomever will offer it. She seems genuinely willing to change her ways when Cordelia offers her the chance to work at Angel Investigations, but can Harmony change? Spike's behavior since he discovered his amorous feelings for Buffy has sparked a debate about vampire free will--are vampires free to chose good over evil? Cordelia wants to believe that Harmony can make this choice. Wesley responds with an argument similar to the one Giles gave Xander in The Harvest:
"That's not your friend. That thing may have your friend's memories, her appearance... But it's just a filthy demon, an unholy monster"
implying that Harmony's demon nature makes it impossible for her to freely embrace good. Angel calls Harmony the "enemy" and predicts that she will betray them because she's a vampire without a soul. And indeed, Harmony dumps the good guys as soon as Doug's cult gives her another offer. There is some indication, however, that unsouled vampires are not entirely without any urge to do good. Spike is of course an example of this, and Doug explains why when he urges his followers to
"ignore... the voice of your inner human ...the ghostly remnants of neuroses from your past life... Suppress it."
The open question is whether any individual vampire's "ghostly remnants" are strong enough to overpower its demon instincts.
"...it's nothing personal. I'm evil. We're still friends, right?"
Is Harmony simply "weak-willed and soft-brained" as Cordelia would like to think--easily swayed by a motivational speaker? Or is she acting according to her nature? VampHarmony was amoral before she betrayed the gang. She was ready to kill to defend Angel's car, she was as willing to bite Cordelia as she was to sit and reminisce with her, and she took no offense at Wesley calling her "an unholy monster". However:
... Harmony has not really changed all that much. [She] betrays Cordelia et al because she wants acceptance and a place in structured group. In Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, Harmony turns on Cordelia because Cordelia is dating Xander. Harmony saw an opportunity to rise in the high school social scene and she took it. I realize that one action involved social ostracism in high school and the other killing someone, but the root behavior is the same. ...in giving into the urging to suppress her inner human, Harmony was actualizing a magnified example of that inner human's behavioral patterns (fresne, 14:31 4/20/01)
Good and Moral Ambiguity in "Disharmony"
Angel: The Angel Investigations crew might be back in Angel's hotel again, but things are not harmonious with Angel yet. Angel still has an instinct to take charge. And it's not easy to act like "just another member of the team" when Cordelia and Wesley are still angry at him. Angel's attempts to to make amends to his friends are awkward and difficult and Angel ends up taking the easier path more than once. He lies to Cordelia about sleeping with Darla, and overcompensates when he replaces Cordelia's clothes. And Angel's many attempts to win back Cordelia's affections but not Wesley's alienate Wesley, a fact which Angel misses entirely.
Wesley, Gunn, Cordelia, and Angel eventually locate the vampire headquarters and destroy Doug's scheme and outwit Harmony's betrayal, but time will tell whether this team will find harmony (little h) again.
Cordelia's desire to find something of her old friend in the vampire Harmony may not be completely unrealistic. However, when Harmony turns on them, shouldn't Cordelia, of all people, be a little less forgiving? Instead, she finds herself unable to kill the demon with her friend's face. And she proves herself sympathetic to her other vampire friend as well:
....I don't think it was just the clothes that made her like Angel again...I think it was the fact that she couldn't kill her former friend...no matter how evil. I think Cordy understood why Angel found it so easy to become obsessed with trying to reform Darla...no matter how evil the demon, when it wears the face of someone you know, it's hard to kill them. ...I think the clothes just made it easier for Cordy to say things were okay
Evil in and the Metaphysics of "Dead End"
Pocklas: Lindsey is sent to the Fairfield medical clinic to get his hand replaced. Wolfram and Hart employees are a major source of funding for the clinic. They put Lindsey under a local anesthetic and sew a severed hand onto Lindsey's stump. A Pockla arrives in the operating room. Pocklas are demon healers who can regenerate flesh. They have long fingers and red robes that cover their faces. The Pockla gives a blessing to the transplant: "harrar kada!" and sprinkles enchanted dust on Lindsey's wrist. The new hand attaches itself completely and the Pockla disappears.
Transplant rejection: Joseph Kramer, a happy, sane family man who recently had an eye transplant at the Fairfield clinic, grabs a knife and stabs himself in the eye. Lindsey finds himself in a meeting writing "kill, kill, kill" all over his writing tablet. These actions are being initiated by the original donors of the body parts. These mutilated people are drugged and on life-support in a travel agency basement. Their body part are being harvested. Even though the parts are no longer connected physically to their bodies, the donors have a psychic attachment to them. This attachment probably lasts until the donor dies.
The pain that accompanies Cordelia's visions is lingering these days--until the case she has seen in her vision is solved. She is also experiencing "vision aftermaths"--flashbacks in which parts of the vision repeat themselves. This gives the gang more information to go on, but it is taking an emotional and physical toll on Cordy.
Good and Moral Ambiguity in "Dead End"
When the Angel Investigations gang reaches a dead end on their case, they head to Caritas for the Host's insight. There they find Lindsey trying to get more information about his new hand. The Host tells Angel that Lindsey is the key to solving the case. Angel gets Lindsey's new fingerprints off his glass. The hand belongs to Bradley Scott who was recently paroled after being in prison for embezzling from Wolfram and Hart.
Angel meets up with Lindsey at the home of Bradley Scott's parole officer. The parole officer is the one taking people like Bradley to the travel agency. He has tried to stay deliberately ignorant of Wolfram and Hart's purposes, and refuses to help Lindsey and Angel out of fear of what Wolfram and Hart will do to him. Angel coerces him into helping by inspiring a little fear of his own.
Lindsey fears he has the hand of a man who wants to kill someone--maybe even him. Since Lindsey is able to play the guitar again, he goes to Caritas like he did in the pre-TSILA days and sings for the Host. His song sounds at first like he's describing a paradise, but it is an ironic, bitter picture of Los Angeles:
Pretty girl on every corner,
the sunshine turns the sky to gold,
warm, warm, it's always warm here,
but I can't stand the cold
But Lindsey's hand doesn't belong to a homicidal maniac. It belongs to a man who, while guilty of embezzlement, is not evil. Lindsey and Angel find Bradley in the travel agency with the other donors and a symbol of the Pockla demon. Bradley Scott tells Lindsey to "kill"--kill him. He doesn't want to live in this state. Lindsey cuts off life support while Angel rescues the healthy donors and prepares to blow up the lab. Wolfram and Hart's callous use of human beings is the last straw for Lindsey. As Angel points out, the more Lindsey is rewarded by Wolfram and Hart, the more unhappy he gets. Lindsey decides to leave town. Before he takes off, he tells Angel the key to Wolfram and Hart: "Don't let them make you play their game. You gotta make them play yours."
...it seems that someone who'd watched siblings die at a young age & watched his parents lose everything might be just a little harder to shock than your average joe. ...In [Blind Date] Holland specifies Lindsey's troubled position as being that of a man who doesn't have passion, and thus hasn't been able to decide where he should be. A sort of ambivalence of not being excited about too much of anything. ...it seemed to me that after this ...that Lindsey became less passionate. ...
...But it's hard to rationalize staring [a] person in the face & mercy-kill them. ...Lindsey's a lawyer, he doesn't commit the crimes - he just enables those who do. Now he's got to commit the crime not because he wants to, or will gain from it, but purely because if he doesn't, he gets to spend the rest of his life knowing that someone out there is suffering horribly just so Lindsey can play guitar. That's gotta hit someone hard.
...it's in the boardroom that I think Lindsey finishes the leap that he'd started when he pulled the plug on his former coworker. Lilah was slated to die ...if Lindsey was going to be promoted. Lindsey had just had to watch one person die so he could slake his guilt about stepping - perhaps literally - on someone else to get where he was. Now he was going to get to do it again. His choice was either to react, by protesting perhaps, if Lilah were dragged away or she shot herself. And in simply reacting, he'd leave himself back in the same limbo of not-completing-the-leap that he'd been in when Holland offered him a rationalization for his ambivalence. Instead, he jumped up and made his move first.
...as long as a character is acting instead of reacting, then s/he has the chance of redemption in the Buffyverse. It's those that let the world make the first move that are doomed to repeat a la vampires, or doomed to go down struggling in vain, a la Kate. When they get off their ass and start calling the shots in their own lives - and taking responsibility for their actions, as well - then they start moving towards countering the Wolframs & Harts of their world (Solitude1056, 18:15 4/27/01).
Lilah is feeling under the gun. The time for choosing a Vice President of Special Projects has come. She knows the other VP candidate will die. Lindsey has been more on the ball as a lawyer lately and his favored status with the Senior Partners is evident when they offer Lindsey the hand transplant. Lilah decides to get information incriminating Wolfram and Hart executives to protect herself after Lindsey is promoted. Lindsey sees Lilah going through confidential files. When the day arrives, Lindsey bluffs his way out of Wolfram and Hart by pretending his hand is evil and that he can't control what it does. He tells Nathan Reed about Lilah's research and points out that she is the kind of person Wolfram and Hart like to have as an employee. They promote Lilah.
Angel is still working hard to rebond with Cordelia. He buys her lunch and is pleased when she tells him she loves him.
The Metaphysics of "Belonging"
The Haklar: Wesley's description of the Haklar implies that at least some demons are subject to evolution in a way similar to Earth creatures. The Haklar, he says, are, "descended from the Klenzen Order". These heavy demons spend most of their time hibernating in warm, moist climates. They awaken during alternating full moons to mate and feed, often simultaneously. Haklar demons come in two varieties--those that eat livers and those that eat entire humans. The two varieties have different feeding grounds. Haklars communicate with each other via carefully timed facial tics, not dissimilar from to Morse code. You kill a Haklar with a standard slice and dice.
Drokken demons are large, but strong and fast, and have sharp teeth for attacking and devouring prey. The Drokken's bite contains a powerful venom, deadly to the Deathwok demons of its native dimension, Pylea. The Drokken is impervious to decapitation and electrocution. It dies most readily if stabbed with a weapon dipped in thromite, an element not found on Earth. Without thromite, only a powerful blow will destroy the Drokken. A portal in Caritas spits out a Drokken. It escapes and kills two men and takes a woman for a snack.
Dimensional portals: Transporting between Earth and the dimension of Pylea requires a special incantation. Five years ago, a librarian named Fred read aloud from a book in the foreign language section of the public library. A portal opened behind her and swept her away. Cordy finds the book, entitled "Shrsqwrn" and reads aloud from it at random:
"Krv Drpglr pwlz chkwrt strplmt dwghzn prqlrzn lffrmtplzt."
A portal opens up behind her and out pops Landokmar of the Deathwok Clan. Later, Cordelia deduces that if Landok reads from the book near a portal, he will be sent back. In Caritas, Landok reads:
"Klmprkthr pwlznth wrv blrpnkntr vrbqwptl spgr drpvln."
A portal opens and a light flashes. Landok is gone, and so is Cordelia.
Question: How did the Drokken get to Earth, the Stevie Wonder incantation? More on the metaphysics of portal-jumping.
Demons of the Deathwok Clan are green with red horns. By tradition, Deathwok demons are fierce warriors who engage in hunting and gathering and jousting. They have a strict code of honor. Upon death, certain rituals must be followed to ensure the dead warrior receives glory.
Spirit reading: Landok goes into a trance in order to channel his mind to identify the Drokken's aura. This is the same technique The Host uses to help people find their destinies. Landok also tracks the Drokken by following its emotional waves of hostility. Emotion-reading is a skill Deathwoks only acquire with training.
Good and Moral Ambiguity in "Belonging"
The Host: Krevlornswath refused to follow the ancient Deathwok Clan traditions. He did not see things in black and white terms like they did; he was able to understand his rivals' points of view. "Lorne" was a lover, not a fighter, a fact that brought shame to his family. One day, Lorne vanished mysteriously from their dimension. He ended up in an abandoned building in Los Angeles that he turned into the Caritas nightclub.
Angel: When the Host complains about the warrior lifestyle in his own dimension, Angel gets misty-eyed. He eagerly joins Landok's hunt for the Drokken and impales the Drokken with a flying sword. Landok is impressed with Angel's skills and acknowledges him as a kindred spirit.
Angel seems to be in the process of finding his moral compass. It reminds me of college friends from strict religious backgrounds. Freshman year, they overdid the partying... Terrified themselves, they became born-again Christians in their sophomore year. ...First season Angel was trying to please somebody (PTB) to win a big prize. Then he found out that no prize was forthcoming any time soon and got all pissy when he discovered life wasn't fair. Then he had an epiphany "life's not fair." So now he's ready to be lead to a black-and-white world where he can regroup within some clear boundaries (Kathleen L., 10:23 pm May 1, 2001).
Cordelia: What could be wrong with a softer, gentler Cordy? Well, how about a Wimpy Cordelia? When Cordelia finally gets her big break--a national commercial--the director is insensitive and arrogant. Angel takes offense at his blatant treatment of Cordelia as a sex object. Cordelia, however, seems willing to go along with the abuse, a fact that disturbs Angel greatly. Cordelia isn't the type of person who takes crap from anyone. Which puts her in a quandary--she wants fame and fortune and a better life, but she doesn't want to put up with this on her way up.
Gunn is approached by his old friends George and Rondell. They want to borrow Gunn's truck, filled with anti-vamp weapons, so they can kill a pack of vampires who have been attacking homeless people in MacKenzie Park. Gunn wants to help, but is called back to the Haklar hunt by Wesley. Gunn asks his friends to wait for him. They do not believe they can count on Gunn being there, so they proceed without him. George is bit and dies. Rather than wait to see if he will rise as a vampire, George's friends create a funeral pyre to destroy the body and pay homage to their friend. Gunn is angry that his friends didn't wait for his help, but he knows why they didn't. He wonders if he has made the right decision joining Angel Investigations and abandoning his old friends and mission.
|Over the Rainbow|
The Metaphysics of "Over the Rainbow"
Dimensional portals: According to Wesley's research, certain geographical areas have more "psychic energy" than others. This makes them natural "hot spots" where gateways or portals can be created between dimensions. The Hellmouth, Caritas, and the public library where Landok appeared are such spots. Once a portal is made and used, the psychic energy is depleted and cannot be used again until it recharges, much like a battery. After Landok and Cordy were sucked into Pylea, the Caritas spot went "cold". Angel reads twice from the book:
Krv Drpglr pwlz chkwrt strplmt dwghzn prqlrzn lffrmtplzt.
but nothing happens.
Cordelia and Landok went through the same portal at the same time, but did not end up in the same geographical location in Pylea. As Wesley explains, this "scattering" is normal. In order to prevent it, individuals traveling through a portal together must surround themselves with metal on four sides. Wesley, Angel, Gunn, and the Host use Angel's car to take the leap through a portal located at a movie studio. Wesley reads:
Krv Drpglr pwlz chkwrt strplmt dwghzn prqlrzn lffrmtplzt!
Angel drives into the portal. The spell book remains on Earth. On the other side in Pylea, Wesley speculates that the book only functions to open portals to Pylea. Since it is useless in Pylea for the return trip, it cannot exist in Pylea and didn't travel with them. This means they are trapped there unless they find another way out.
The dimension of Pylea is much like medieval Europe, with some important exceptions. Besides lacking in cocktails (Deathwoks can't get drunk, anyway), Pylea is
"A world of only good and evil... black and white, no gray? No music, no art, just champions roaming the countryside fighting for justice? ...No one admits to ever having actual feelings and emotions, let alone talks about them."
The one group for which there is no justice in Pylea are humans. They are called "cows" and are treated worse than mere property. They are put in collars that deliver painful shocks and then are worked to death. Fred is an escaped slave. She briefly talks to Cordelia before she is captured.
The Covenant of the Trombli: Cordelia gets a vision of a Drokken killing a villager. After the villagers confirm that what she predicted came true, a demon priest, Silas, arrives to test Cordelia for the "curse of the sight". He is part of a priesthood that has ruled over Pylea for several millennia. The Covenant torture Cordelia with sharp hot metal instruments. They decide that she is afflicted and take her to her fate.
Vampires and suns-shine
Good and Moral Ambiguity in "Over the Rainbow"
The Host goes to his friend Aggie to get help in finding another portal hot-spot. Aggie has real psychic abilities (reading auras, etc.), but that doesn't stop her from B.S.ing her way through a phone call at a psychic hot-line. She also refuses to help the Host until he 'fesses up about the "ugly conflict vibes" he has concerning his friends' mission to save Cordelia. Aggie tells him that she won't reveal the location of another hot-spot unless he agrees to go to Pylea. The Host needs one last trip back home to resolve his mixed feelings about his early life. Although he has sworn never to return to the home dimension he hates, the Host grudgingly goes along as a guide.
Gunn tells his friends he can't help them find Cordelia. He has other important responsibilities. The decision tears him up, however, and after Angel leaves a phone message putting the final affairs of Angel Investigations in Gunn's hands, Gunn has second thoughts and joins his new friends. More on Gunn's conflicted sense of responsibility.
Gunn, the Host, Angel and Wesley are soon captured by the Pylean villagers. The Host is branded a traitor for abandoning the teachings of his people, leaving Pylea, and having human friends whom he treats as equals. The other three are to be tried for the crime of assault against their "betters" and put to death. They are locked up and later taken before The Venerable Monarch of Pylea. When the doors open, it's Cordelia.
Philosophies Represented in "Over the Rainbow"
Human Rights: The episode The Ring sparked a good deal of debate over whether demons had rights on Earth. Turnabout's fair play: do humans have rights in the demon dimensions? Cordelia assumes she does merely because she's "an American". One view of rights states rights are socially negotiated things, not written into the fabric of the universe. Cordelia's not in America anymore, nor in one of the countries it has a nice diplomatic treaty with. Moo...
As stated in the Declaration of Independence, rights are inalienable. They exist outside of any social convention. Societies can neither create them nor destroy them. They can honor them & protect them or disrespect them & trample over them, but they can not change them (gds, 13 May 2001 17:44).
Through the Looking Glass
The Metaphysics of "Through the Looking Glass"
The Groosalugg is a handsome champion who was cast out of his demon village for being part human. The man tried to end his life by fighting various monsters and demons but won all these contests. In the end, The Covenant was forced to acknowledge that he was the "Groosalugg", which means "brave and undefeated," who, along with The Cursed One, will play a key role in restoring the monarchy of Pylea.
Humans that are not slaves do what they can to survive in Pylea. Fred has gone a bit goofy living in a cave and stealing from the demon villagers. She writes mathematical equations that are part physics and part magic in chalk on the cave wall. The rebels are a band of nomadic humans. They are terrorists who lash out at the reigning authority--in this case, the princess of Pylea. They believe that Wesley and Gunn are spies working against them. When Wesley reveals they are friends of the princess, they decide to kill Wes and Gunn.
|The metaphysics of vampires: While the physical laws of the Earthly plane seem to be in force in Pylea (e.g., gravity), the metaphysical laws that govern our world don't necessarily apply. Angel can walk in the suns-light and see himself in a mirror. And when he tries to morph into vamp-face, he turns instead into a ravenous blood-thirsty beast with sharp teeth and claws (apparently, though, you still kill a Pylean vampire by the usual means). The AngelBeast tears the palace guards limb from limb and attacks Wesley and Gunn.|
Wesley theorizes that Angel has turned into a "pure vampire". While vampires on Earth are demon spirits that usurp and transform the physical body of mortals, in Pylea, they are physical, animalistic monsters. In Pylea, Angel in human form is much closer to being human than demon. In demon form, he is much closer to demon than human. It is difficult to have both at the same time. Pylean vampires still crave blood, and Fred saves Gunn and Wes by luring the AngelBeast to the water pool in her cave with some blood from the dead guards. Angel is still aware on some level while the Beast is predominant. When the beast sees its reflection in the water pool, human Angel reasserts himself.
Note: If the "pure vampire" is a mindless predatory beast, it has no free will; it cannot be condemned for its actions. What does this say about the human hybrids that exist in our dimension?
...without the host human's memories, intelligence, and education, they are more like hellhounds then other intelligent demons. Which means that vampires are more human than we think (Jack_McCoy, 16:36 5/17/01).
...it makes clear that the it's the vampires' human nature that makes them "evil." I.E. when Angelus killed Jenny, it was the beast that let him catch her and snap her neck, but it was the soulless MAN whose twisted artistic vision arranged the body in Giles' bed (Greta, 8:28 5/18/01).
On this model, a vampire is a predatory beast without intelligence or rationality. This implies that Earth vampires are human bodies whose conscience (soul) is gone, replaced by a primitive demon spirit with only an urge to feed. What remains of the human predecessor is their intelligence and memories, resulting in predatory, conscience-less human-like creature still motivated by events and people from their former human lives.
Evil in "Through the Looking Glass"
Wesley translates the three "holy books" used to swear in Cordelia as princess, hoping to discover a portal back to Earth. In the process, he notes their covers. On the first is a wolf, on the second is a ram, and on the third is a "hart", a male male red deer (often associated with rural mysticism).
...Wolfram & Hart...work in a similar manner no matter which dimension they are operating in. ...It appears that the cult o' priests serves the basically the same function in Pylea as the W&H lawyers do here -- they are knowledgeable, powerful, evil, and will go to any means to get the results they want. In Pylea the priests are willing to put Cordelia on the throne, thinking she is little more than a silly "cow" that they can manipulate. When they realize she is more than that, they attempt blackmail and threaten death. In L.A. the lawyers want Angel to become a dark puppet for the side of Evil. Failing that, they are willing to make him unsuitable to fight for the side of Good (purplegrrl, 7:15 5/21/01).
The priests cannot understand why The Powers would give a human the Pure Sight that marks her as their Cursed One. They have no intention of obeying a "cow". They decide to abide by the prophecy until the Com-shuk occurs. At that point, they will behead Cordelia. When Cordelia does not get on with the Com-shuking, they decide to motivate her. They bring her the Host's severed head on a platter.
Moral Ambiguity in "Through the Looking Glass"
At first, Cordelia enjoys her new position--she's important again. When she discovers she must mate with a beast, though, she has second thoughts. But it's hard to escape when you balk at carrying your stolen treasures into a demon-poo sewer. Cordelia decides things could be worse than a life of thrones and proclamations and handsome Groosaluggs. She admits that the life she left behind was not so princessy. Well, this new one really isn't, either.
Wesley sends Angel and The Host to the Deathwok clan farm to get information on the portal that originally sent Lorne to Earth. It's not a happy homecoming for Lorne. His mother spits in his face and tells him of the celebrations that followed his disappearance. The Host seems to take it in stride, though. And when the opportunity arises, he mows down the village party with Motown to help Angel rescue a cow from slaughter. The palace guards take him into custody.
Sometimes it's easier to be cast out entirely than to be disapproved of. Lorne has no hope whatsoever, so he can afford to be flip about the whole thing. Wesley still hopes to regain his father's approval, and that makes him take it more seriously (Humanitas, 8:32 5/17/01).
"Nice to be seen as a hero without all those pesky little moral ambiguities you get back home, isn't it?"
Angel is made the guest of honor at the Deathwok "Bach-Nal" (village feast) when Landok defends him as a "valiant and courageous warrior". Angel regales Lorne's clan with tales of his battles and enjoys their hero-worshiping response. Until they ask him to swing the "crebbil"--the ax that will kill the scavenging human they intend to feast on. Angel whisks Fred to safety, but he's back in moral ambiguity land when he tries to use his demon to defend her again. He is traumatized by the monster--what he believes "I really am," and is ashamed because Wesley and Gunn saw it.
There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb
The Metaphysics of "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb"
The Cursed One: The Covenant of the Trombli have a prophecy that tells of the Cursed One, a being with "pure sight"--a direct link to the Powers That Be-- who will claim the throne and restore their monarchy. They believe that Cordelia is this messiah. As the Covenant understands the prophecy, the Cursed One will mate ("Com-shuk") with a champion called the Groosalugg whose demon blood will absorb her visions so they pass to him. Their plan is to use Groo's loyalty to control the visions to their own advantage. Is Cordelia the true "Cursed One"?
Creating portals: The unpronounceable incantations used to create portals to Pylea are not words in any language. According to physicist Fred, they're "consonant representations of a mathematical transfiguration formula"--in other words, the mathematical formulas that describe the physics of portal-creation turned into a verbal code. When this verbal code is read outloud, it creates a disturbance in the fabric of reality that opens a portal.
Fred tried using the formulas that got her to Pylea to return to Earth, but they didn't seem to work. In reality, she had created portals, just nowhere near herself. One of Fred's attempts sent the Drokken who trashed Caritas across. This is also how the Host got to Earth as well. He was mysteriously transported through a portal in the Pylean woods five years ago--probably right after Fred arrived and tried to transport herself back. To control the portal-creation process on the Pylean side, Fred needed a different incantation--one found only in the Holy Books of the Covenant of Trombli. The gang takes these books with them when they return to Earth.
The people of the Deathwok clan do not die from beheading unless their bodies are also mutilated. As long as this doesn't happen, the head can go on living indefinitely and can be reunited with the body to restore the whole being. Cordelia takes the Host's head down to the mutilation chamber. There they discover that Groo has put another body in the Host's clothes and had the Host's body smuggled to the Deathwok farm before it could be mutilated. Later, cousin Landok unites his kinsman's head with his body.
The Slave-Killer: The Trombli have two talismans for murdering human slaves who wear collars around their necks. One is a small, hand-held device that will make a single slave's head explode. The other is a console laden with jewels in the shape of a hand. If the priest puts his hand on the jewels, it will send out a signal that will kill all the slaves.
Evil in "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb"
The Trombli Priests are the real power in Pylea. They control by fear and religious propaganda, calling themselves the "Holy Clergy" and telling citizens they will burn in "Tarkna" if they disobey. They keep genuine prophesies and magical knowledge to themselves while forging fake scripture to maintain their power. According to these "scriptures", humans are "ordained" to be their slaves.
The Covenant know that Cordelia's insolence and Angel's rescue of the condemned slave Fred will create even more dissension than the human rebels have already caused--humans may actually start thinking they have equal rights! They send the Captain of the Imperial Guards to hunt down Wesley, Gunn, and Angel and kill them. When the Captain doesn't succeed, Silas convinces the Groosalugg to fight Angel by telling Groo that Angel is a barbarian who will rape and murder the princess.
Good and Moral Ambiguity in "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb"
When the human rebels realize that Wes and Gunn are the real targets of an Imperial Guard assault on their camp, they set them free. Gunn convinces Wesley they should stay and fight with the rebels instead of abandoning them. The rebels, he says, cannot win without experienced leadership. After Wesley describes Guerrilla warfare tactics to the rebels, they put him in charge of the attack. Wesley plans a multi-pronged assault on the castle. The key to this plan is diversion: Angel will fight the Groosalugg while rebels stage direct attacks on the castle at different points. Another team will enter the castle from behind.
Gunn confronts Wesley, telling him that his plan will kill the rebels sent to cause the distraction. Wesley knows this; but he has decided that a strategic sacrifice of some of the men under his leadership is necessary for the success of the larger plan. His ability to stomach this consequence and carry his plan through is a far cry from his wimpy Wesley days, but is in keeping with the battle tactics he must have learned as a Watcher.
Gunn, Wes and the rebels enter the castle to find Silas holding Cordelia prisoner. Silas has his hand on the Slave-Killer device. Cordelia picks up a sword and beheads him, then smashes the Slave-Killer console with an ax.
Angel can fight off Imperial Soldiers without turning into the AngelBeast, but he knows he can't do the same with the undefeated champion of Pylea. He fears what he will do as the beast. He fears being unable to change back. Sure enough, his fight with the Groosalugg does not go well. Angel morphs into the AngelBeast. He is about to tear open Groo's throat when he stops himself and returns to human form. Angel tells him the fight is over. Groo starts in again, but Cordelia, who has seen the AngelBeast attack Groo in a vision, stops them. She tells the Imperial soldiers to lay down their weapons.
Is Cordelia the Cursed One?
Prophecies are tricky creatures, open to the multiple interpretations language is heir to, and the biases of whomever reads them. Cordelia never had sex with Groo, and yet, in the end, she passes her "vision" of a Pylea where all creatures are created equal and slavery is outlawed to Groo, whom she loved, and bequeaths to him her role as monarch of Pylea. So in a sense, she who is cursed with visions did restore the monarchy of Pylea through an (unconsummated) sexual bond with the Groosalugg.
The pre-cognitive visions, however, she keeps for herself. They may be a burden best handled by someone with demon strength, but Cordelia wants them to help her friends fight evil back in L.A. They are part of her and her self-identity now. As for Groo, he may be on the throne, but he'll only stay there if he can manage the affairs of a state where the old order has been overthrown and different races now struggle for a piece of the pie.
The Host realizes he had to come home in order to convince himself he belonged in L.A. Well, that and to join his friends in creating social chaos that will bring even more shame to his family. He is officially disowned and scampers happily back to Earth.