Time is not on Illyria's side.
Written by: Ben Edlund
Directed by: Vern Gillum
Gunn lies in the torture room of the Wolfram and Hart holding dimension, when suddenly Illyria bursts in and rescues him. Returning through a portal, she drops him at Angel's feet.
Angel argues with Wesley about the need to contain Illyria, and he grudgingly agrees to help kill her. Later, in his office, the mighty demoness suddenly shifts painfully back and forth in time, and sees Wesley apparently aiming a weapon at her.
Wesley, meanwhile, has discovered that Illyria's power is leaking, and she will soon explode. She can be stopped, though, with a mutari generator. The gang track her down to the training room, and ready the generator - so she kills them all.
Her moment of victory is snatched from her by another trip through time, during which she picks up an earlier version of Angel, who witnesses her explode. Pushed back in time, he's able to warn Illyria what will happen, and prevent the massacre of his friends.
Her fate clear if she does not, Illyria consents to having her powers stripped from her.
Quiz: - ten quick questions.
Oops upside my bulkhead: Gunn's statement that things have gone Poseidon on him is a reference to 70s disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure, in which a cruise liner completely capsizes, only a few passengers escaping under the leadership of Gene Hackman. In the sequel, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, some passengers are discovered still living in the sunken ship years later, surviving on fish and budgies. This time Michael Caine rescues them.
Getting the blues: The many blue-themed names Illyria is called during this episode include Shiva, after the azure-skinned Hindu god of destruction and rebirth, Our Lady of the Blue Bummer, a variation on the way the virgin Mary is normally addressed, and Blue Bird.
Spike also dubs her Babe the Blue Ox. A bizarre character of American folklore, Babe was said to be so large his footsteps made all of Minnesota's lakes. His owner was mythical enormous lumberjack Paul Bunyan, and his partner was the Great Yeller Cow. He's memorialised in several huge statues in the US.
Trouble and strife: Amanda, the pregnant woman, is played by none other than Jaime Bergman, also known as Mrs David Boreanaz.
Speaking to the Cult site, David Boreanaz said, "It [was] just an opportunity for a character [where] it would be great to have her come on to the show, and have our son look at that, and see the two of us actually play opposite one another for a brief moment. We had fun with it."
The bad reverend: Gunn compares demon cult the Fell Bretheren to Jim Jones, the infamous cult leader who forced 913 of his followers to commit suicide in 1978 by drinking Kool Aid laced with poison.
I have to say, I'm liking Amy Acker as Illyria a lot more than I liked her as Fred. Arrogant beyond measure, unpredictable and strange, the character is fascinating to watch. Paired with Wesley's increasingly erratic behaviour, beautifully conveyed by Alexis Denisof (witness that little bit of business with listening to the watch - admirably cranked), and the show has a new, hard-edged tension.
Time travel is one of my favourite themes in sci fi, and the way this episode used it was great on two counts: 1) the groovy "vworping" sound that accompanied the time shifts, and 2) the heart-murmur inducing training room scene.
Of course, no one's ever going to believe that Joss would really kill all the characters only halfway through an episode, but just for a wee, teeny moment I thought maybe the WB's cancellation had annoyed him that bit too much. Top class.