Shiny Happy People

Connor and Angel are kneeling before the woman Cordelia gave birth to, both in complete awe of her, they're enchanted by her. Connor still has the blood of the innocent girl splashed allover his face, but he doesn't seem to notice. He's completely caught up in the woman. He tells her that was all Cordelia wanted – to give her life, he doesn't seem to be concerned at all that 'his' baby is a woman probably twice his age.

Connor (with the blood already washed off) returns to the hotel and is first spotted by Fred, who orders him to drop the knife he's holding. He seems to not quite understand where her anger is originated from and smiling, simply tells her he came to put the blade back in its place. Now, Fred is confused, she doesn't know what he is now, is he on their side or is he still evil. They soon spot Angel, who is standing by the couch on which Cordelia is lying, and he quickly assures Fred and Lorne Connor is with him.

Gunn and Wesley join them and as they all observe Cordelia is no longer pregnant, they want to know if Angel got there in time and killed whatever she was meant to give birth to. Angel admits he's tried, he almost succeeded, and consumed by a wave of shame and grief for his actions, he retreats to the stairs and sits down.

Connor tells him he should stop torturing himself and adds that he's been like this all the way to the hotel. His voice is light and even caring, which draws strange looks from the others regarding his behavior. He never spoke to Angel that way, he never cared about his father (at least not so openly) and naturally, they don't understand the change in him.

When Gunn and Wes decide to go out in search for the hellspawn and kill it, Connor and Angel stop them, saying all they want is to find her, so they could worship her. The others don't understand and Angel assures them they will once they meet her.

Wesley points out he must be under some sort of spell, which by now we know he is, and so is Connor. Their relationship in this scene (and starting from this scene, to be exact) is extraordinary. They're so close to each other one can't help but ask himself why, where it all came from. They act like a father and a son should and given the history between them, this sort of behavior cannot go unexplained (and they do explain it, with magic). But still, even then, even *if* Angel and Connor were moving closer to each other than apart ever since Connor came back from Quortoth, even then their relationship now would be considered too warm. What they are now gives the strong impression they were *never* parted at all. And now this brings out the question, is it really the spell? And the answer is no. it's not the spell for neither of them.

Angel is enchanted by the woman, it's true – but the feeling he has for Connor, everything he now openly and freely offers his son, it's what has been hidden under the surface of grief and pain ever since Connor was lost on him as a baby. He releases all of that now because the spell tells him that he can.

And Connor, well, those of us who read the spoilers know by now that Connor was never affected by the woman at all, which rises the question – how come he is affected by her magic? The answer is simple – Connor is your typical tragic hero in this one, on how many occasions has it been noted how much he wants closeness, family, love warmth. These things are so important to him and he never got to experience any of those, they were all brutally robbed from his life. He *does* know what the spell is standing for, what he's 'supposed' to be like under its domination, so he lets himself enjoy everything he could never have, live the life he could never have. Because he knows there will be no repercussions, there is nothing bad in the world and while the spell is in full power, nothing will break that. For now, he chooses to live that lie because he's fed up with the truth, and up to a point, given all he's been through, it can be understood.

Later in Cordelia's room, everybody are assembled to hear the woman's story, as she tells about a time before the race of men, when powerful beings rules the earth, beings that were only the seed of what was to become good and evil. She says she felt she needed back in this world, to seemingly help men restore the balance between the two, and so she needed a miracle through which she could be brought back. She approaches Connor, and putting her hand on his cheek, says that she created one, by that giving him the reason for his existence. He seems to be proud of that. She says she needed two vampires, once humans and corrupted by darkness, and points out that Angel, who had a soul, was already a miracle. She says it all began the day Lorne sent Angel and then human Darla to the Trials, to earn a new chance of life. Now, according to that version, we learn that in the Trials, Angel didn't fight for Darla's life, apparently, he fought for Connor's. That's an interesting fact.

Next, in a fight initiated by the woman's need to 'clean the world from evil', the strange closeness between Angel and Connor pops up again. I'm only mentioning this one not because it has any importance to the plot or character development, but because it reminded me something. When Connor yells, "Dad," to warn Angel, that is engaged in a fight with a vampire and tosses his father a stake, it brings me back to one of Angel's hallucinations while still in the bottom of the ocean, when Connor did almost the same thing in the fight in the dream. That dream, as I recall, didn't have a happy ending.

Back in the hotel Connor observes the woman's wound has disappeared rather quickly for something that was bleeding excessively just minutes ago, she tells him it's because she heals fast, must be a remnant from her former power. He accepts it, supposedly, but nevertheless asks why that man tried to hurt her, he wants an answer for that. Judging Connor's behavior through these episodes is rather hard because you can never tell when he's true and when he isn't. We know he was not affected by the spell so every move he makes, every word that leaves his lips is suspicious and a cause for concern. However, the woman tells him exactly what (we know) he wants to hear. She tells him people can't accept change and they're afraid of it (and we know Connor is more than relates to that, because it's just another wording for 'people can't accept you'). Like Cordelia (or rather, *she* in control of Cordelia), the woman knows exactly what to do or say to keep Connor close. Also, Connor's loyalty is one of his qualities. He is *very* loyal, an imprint Holtz left in him. She works on that.

In the woman's room, Connor comes in and they talk. He tells her he finally knows why he was created, now that she's here – to bring her into this world. She says it's true, but there is so much more. He says he doesn't deserve to be happy, that he's done horrible things, he's betrayed his father. She says he deserves all the happiness and more, and she knows everything he's done, she's always been watching him. Connor's expression throughout this conversation is one that will accompany his from then and on, it's a strange mixture of peace and contentment, but there is also something cryptic about it, something mysterious you only seldom catch a glimpse of. It is plausible to think that what he is doing is basically pumping the woman for information, and I can't help but asking – does she know he's faking the whole deal, that he's not really enslaved by her? It is just as believable though that he simply *wants* to hear all those soothing and comforting things he *knows* she would tell him. He might not be affected by the spell directly, but he sure is drunk in it. Like a drug, such happiness and peace can be addicting for someone as tragic as Connor, and when people are addicted, they can be driven to do things that aren't of normal, they might do anything not to lose grasp of their subject of addiction and not to lose it. Where does it leave Connor?…

The woman stresses how important he is to the cause, to her creation. She says she wanted someone special, someone strong to bring her into this world, she chose him even before he was born. She's buttering him up, literally, and he's more than happy to accept the praise. What she tells him is basically that he had a reason for existing all along, and not just a reason, but 'change the world' kinda reason, and telling that to someone who's felt neglected and unimportant up until now is *just* the right thing to do. Connor observes that his father is the champion, not him. To that the woman answers that everything has its season, and it's Connor's turn now. That is *exactly* what he wants to hear, not only that he will become someone important to the good fight, but so much more than that – he will follow his father's footsteps, and he will do exactly what Angel predicted he would – he will become a champion.

But didn't Cordelia once said that everything Angel told him was a lie?…

One last moment that I think is worth mentioning Connor-wise in this episode is when Fred shoots the dart at the woman and Angel jumps in to take the shot. Connor instantly jumps after him and instead of concentrating on Fred or the safety of the woman (he basically deserted her alone), he worriedly checks on his father and helps him up before doing anything else. I personally liked watching that scene, but as I said before – I don't take anything Connor does now for granted.


Memorable

Connor: It's just… having you here, I finally know why I was created. For you. To help bring you here.
Jasmine: That and so much more.
Connor: But… I don't deserve… I shouldn't be so happy. I've done things, I… I've betrayed my dad, I hurt people.
Jasmine: I know, all of it. I've watched you, not just these past years, but all your life, and before it. Connor, you deserve all the happiness I can bring you.
Connor: Why me?
Jasmine: I needed a unique soul, to help create me. Yours. Even before you were born, I chose you to be my father. And now we are going to transform the world.
Connor: But my father, he's the champion.
Jasmine: Everything has its season. It's your time now, Connor. Your destiny.

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