Ground State

Episode Report Card
Strega: C+ | Grade It Now!
Bird on a Wire Relay

Previously on Angel, Cordelia was asked to do something that "transcends love," Connor was misled by years of WB programming into believing that he had a bad dad, Wesley developed some new hobbies, Fred managed to be vaguely interesting, and Angel had an overdue chat with his son.

The caption reads, "Gill's Rock, Wisconsin, October 28, 1985." That's an unusually specific caption. I'm not sure why they left out "Monday." Wisconsin is more mountainous than I'd expected. A car drives past a sign that reads "Thorpe's Academy." I think a good academy would announce itself with something more substantial than a wooden sign by the side of a road. On the other hand, maybe this isn't a really good academy.

A little girl dressed like a lobster looks at the school. Okay, she's not wearing a lobster costume, but: red boots, red snowpants, red mittens, red jacket. That reminds me of this super-cool pair of red boots I had when I was little. They were all stretchy and shiny and had clunky heels and I loved them. I wish I had boots that cool now. Although I don't think I'd have much occasion to wear them. Sorry, got sidetracked. A Ms. Thorpe greets the girl's parents as "Mr. and Mrs. Raiden," and mentions their generous gift to the school: "We've already invested a portion of it into the accommodations for Gwen's...special needs." Mr. Raiden asks when they should come back, and Ms. Thorpe says that classes end in June. Aw. Poor little kid. The Raidens offer nervous reassurances to Gwen without actually touching her or even approaching her. Gwen steps forward as Ms. Thorpe reminds her to stay away from the other children, and then they head toward the school. Gwen turns to look back as her parents get into their car and drive away. They don't even wave. Man. That sucks. Gwen tries to hold Ms. Thorpe's hand and is swiftly rebuked.

Yeah, I'll say all sorts of mean things about babies, but little kids are different. They don't look quite so much like monkeys, for one thing.

A bunch of kids are playing out on the surprisingly verdant Wisconsin hills. Gwen watches from under a tree while she eats lunch. She pulls one mitten off so that she can hold her spoon. A little boy runs over, stares for a minute, and asks, "Are you a freak?" I'm not sure that's something a little kid would say. I guess he could have overheard the term "freak" from a teacher, though. Gwen looks worried and answers, "I dunno." The boy admits that she doesn't look like a freak, and Gwen thanks him. A bell rings, and Ms. Thorpe starts calling kids inside. But Gwen hasn't finished her applesauce! And come to think of it, did they have those little individual plastic cups of applesauce in 1985? As a gesture of friendship, the boy offers Gwen his Matchbox car. Gwen reaches out to take the car just as Ms. Thorpe spots what's happening and shouts, "Gwen!" Too late. Gwen touches the car, there's a zap, and the little boy is thrown back a few yards. All the kids run over as we see the melted Matchbox car on the ground.

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