Rm w/a Vu
written by Jane Espenson
originally aired November 2, 1999


Cordelia: I've had it with these cheap trash bags!  They leak and break and end up costing us more!
You may not believe it (well Doyle does), but Cordelia was just at an audition, giving an inspiring performance about trash bags, and she got turned down.
Cordelia: They gave it to a blonde who showed up in a skin-tight leather catsuit.  She's supposed to be a housewife.  She looked ridiculous!  She looked like catwoman taking out the cat-trash!
While Cordy's ranting about the injustices of Hollywood, the answering machine picks up a call from Ara/Aura (spelling?), an old "Cordette", checking up with Cordy on how everything's going.  Instead of picking up the phone, Cordelia just turns the volume down.
Doyle: You don't want to talk to her?
Cordelia: Um, not just yet.  She's just going to ask about where I'm living, and how the acting's going, and I'm just not up for leading the parade of pain.  I'll do it when things are better.
Well, Cordy's reluctance to share her life situation is a little understandable.  When she gets to her apartment, the key doesn't fit properly in the lock, the light doesn't work very well, the faucets spurt out gross brown water, and worst of all, there's cockroaches. Lots of cockroaches.

Meanwhile, Doyle finds a demon waiting for him in his apartment, looking to collect some money Doyle owes.  Doyle manages to escape this time, of course, but this guy's a "demon of focus" who isn't about to let the situation go easily....

Next thing Angel knows, Cordelia's at his front door with a couple of suitcases, walking right in.

Cordelia: Don't even look at me.  I am such a mess!  I am the lowest of the lowest, and you're going to want to get my other suitcase out in the hall there.
Angel: What happened?
Cordelia: My apartment!  It's like the barrio, or, or the projects, or whatever.  And I live there!  I am a girl from the projects.
See, Cordelia had no where else to go and she definitely wasn't about to stay in her roach-infested apartment anymore.  In fact, she's having a lot of problems coming to terms with her new economic situation:
Cordelia: I am dying for a shower.  I...actually smell.  Smell me.  I never smell.  I didn't know I could!  I'm just going to have to stay here until I can find a decent place, however long that takes, and when I do, you're completely invited over.  Hey you can just dump my stuff on your couch or let me have the bed, whatever you feel good about.  Also, my suitcase is still out in the hall.
Angel's a little bit helpless to do anything about Cordy, while Doyle is trying to avoid the demon he ran into.  When Doyle walks in Angel's apartment the next morning, Cordelia and Angel are both in robes:
Angel: You got peanut butter on the bed.
Cordelia: Really?  I don't think so. [Angel's frustrated look] I'll look. [walks off]
. . . . .
Cordelia: Angel, at some point in recent history, you got peanut butter on the bed, and it's gross.  I think you're going to have to change your sheets.
Angel: I don't eat.
Cordelia: Well then I don't even want to know how it got there.
Angel is just about to reach breaking point with Cordelia, and Doyle asks Cordelia if anybody has called for him:
Cordelia: Oh yeah!  Yesterday your cousin called with one of those names from your part of England.
Doyle: My part of England?
Cordelia: Connor, or Fergus...
This is one time where Cordelia really gets to Doyle.  He's a little angry with her for not telling him beforehand, and Cordelia, being herself, says that she shouldn't bother taking calls for him anymore.

Angel knows that something's up with Doyle, and he tricks him into telling him that he's in trouble.  Then comes a deal: if Doyle helps Angel get rid of his problem (Cordelia), then Angel will try to sort out Doyle's.  Doyle's mission: to find Cordelia an apartment, ASAP.

The apartment hunt that ensues is less than inspiring: a run-down bedroom, a living space separated by a shower curtin where chanting begins every morning at 4 am, and a place where a sleazy guy lives across the hall.  Cordelia's desperate - so desperate to turn to Doyle, who knows "someone", for help.

To Cordelia's surprise, this apartment is beautiful, and she falls in love with instantly:

Cordelia: Oh my gosh, have you ever seen anything so beautiful?
Doyle: [looking at Cordy] Nope.  Never.
This rent-controlled, furnished apartment is everything Cordy dreamed of (except for one of the walls that she wants to take down, which is a flaw that she can fix, therefore making the place more perfect):
Cordelia: First thing, I hire someone to take out that wall.
Doyle: I thought you said it was perfect?
Cordelia: Yes!  And part of it being perfect is there being one tiny flaw for me to fix.
Doyle: Ah, must be why you find me so fascinating.
The problem is, though, that there's a ghost.  Cordelia encounters it on her first night in her new apartment when it plays little tricks on her, like levitating the bed, but she's not about to give in that easily.  This apartment means a lot to her.  Meanwhile, Angel negotiates with Doyle's debtor to give him time to return his money (Griff, the demon, was just going to kill Doyle).  Back at Cordelia's apartment....
Cordelia: You know what?  I get it!  You're a ghost.  You're dead!  Big accomplishment!  Move on!  You see a light anywhere?  Go towards it, okay? [wind] Whooo!  Cold wind!  Scary.  What are you going to do, chap me to death?  What else you got?
Just then, Angel and Doyle arrive with their housewarming present (a cactus).  Despite Cordelia's efforts to hide the presence of the ghost, one of Cordelia's trophies attacks Doyle.  Perfect timing, because that's when "DIE", written in blood, appears on the wall, to Angel and Doyle's horror:
Cordelia: I am not giving up this apartment!
Angel: It's haunted.
Cordelia: It's rent controlled!
Doyle: Cordy, it says DIE.
Cordelia: Maybe it's not done yet.  Maybe it says "diet"!  That's friendly, a little judgmental, sure. [to Angel] I am not giving it up!  It's perfect, and beautiful, it's so me!  I need it.
Angel: [taking Cordelia out from the apartment] You don't need it, it's just a place.  You're more than that.
Cordelia: How?  How am I more than that?
Doyle suggests that maybe they could try to cleanse the apartment, and right before she leaves, Cordelia gives one last threat:
Cordelia: Listen, Casper!  You haven't won yet.  I'll DIE before I give up this aparment!  I'll die!
Ghost: (voice of elderly woman) All right, dear.  If that's what you think is best.
Back at the office, the gang is trying to figure out just who is haunting the apartment, while Angel has a conversation with Cordelia about the importance of the apartment:
Angel: You know, this really is just a place to live.
Cordelia: No!  It's more, it's beautiful.  And if it goes away, it's like...
Angel:  What?
Cordelia: Like I'm still getting punished.
Angel: Punished?
[Cordelia nods]
Angel: For what?
Cordelia: I don't know.  For how I was.  For everything I said in high school just because I could get away with it.  And then it all ended and I had to pay.  But this apartment, I can be me again!  Punishment over!  Welcome back to your life!  Like I couldn't be that awful if I get to have a place like that.  It's just like you.
Angel: Looking for redemption.
Cordelia: I meant because you used to have that manchine.
Then, Doyle finds out that the ghost is most likely a Maude Pearson who lived in Cordy's apartment and died there too.  She died of a heart attack, which doesn't seem to be the kind of violent death necessary for a poltergeist, but Cordelia is adamant that this lady is the one who has been causing her all her trouble.  In order to cleanse the apartment, they have to perform a difficult spell that requires a lot of special materials.  Doyle goes off to get those, while Angel goes to Kate find out a little bit more about this Maude Pearson lady.

So while Cordy's alone at Angel Investigations, the answering machine picks up Angel calling to tell Cordelia to come over the apartment.  She picks up, talks to Angel, and then heads straight over the apartment.  However, this isn't really Angel, and when Angel later hears his voice on the answering machine, he knows Cordelia is in trouble.

When Cordelia walks into the empty apartment, looking for Angel, all she finds is wrinkly old Maude!  She can't escape, though, and Maude tells Cordelia that she should have left her son alone.  See, Maude didn't like her son's girlfriend, and after Maude died, her son was never to be found.  It was deduced that Maude's son killed her.  And now that Cordelia's in Maude's apartment, Maude's not too happy with the way things went and is looking to get some revenge on Cordelia.

Maude says some pretty cruel things to Cordelia, and for awhile, Cordy acts pretty helpless.  She doesn't know what to say to some of the things like "You have no friends", possibly because she starts to believe her.  Maude gets such an advantage on Cordelia with her verbal abuse that a chandelier cord comes down from the ceiling, catches Cordelia unaware and creates a noose around her neck.  Cordelia dangles there, suffocating, and when Maude thinks she is dead, she vanishes.

Of course, right then, Angel and Doyle burst in to take Cordy down and save her at the last minute.  It's safe to say that Cordy's in a state of helpless hysterics and is scared to death of the old lady.  Angel and Doyle try to set up the cleansing spell, but in order to go through with it, they need Cordelia's help.  Maude appears to Cordelia while Angel tries to snap her out of her fit while items fly through the air.  The place becomes too unstable for them to do the cleansing spell, though.  But as the three try to walk out the door, Griff the demon, another demon, and a guy hold guns up to their hands and tell them that nobody is leaving.

What ensues is a fight that makes Maude even more unhappy.  She doesn't want more people in her home and starts fighting back.  One of the demons gets killed by flying knives and the guy just takes off in fright.  Cordelia, though, gets pushed back in the bedroom, left alone with the ghost.

Cordelia: I'll leave!  I'm sorry your son killed you!  You can have the apartment, just let me go.
Maude: It's too late for that!  You know what happens next.  Your friends are dirty.  They ruined my nice home.  [Cordelia breaks down crying] I knew you were trouble from the start.  I'm surprised that my son didn't smell the stench of poverty and failure on you.  I can.
Cordelia: I'm sorry!
Maude: You better be sorry, you stupid little bitch.
Cordelia: [stops crying and looks up] I'm a bitch.
Maude: Take off the bedsheets.  Make a noose.  Go on. [Cordelia gets up] It'll all be over soon.
Cordelia: I'm not a sniveling, whiny little cry-Buffy.  I'm the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history.  I take crap from no one.
Maude: You're going to make yourself a noose, and put it around...
Cordelia: Back off, polygrip!  You think you're bad?  All mean, and haunty?  Picking on poor, pathetic Cordy?  Well get ready to haul your wrinkly, translucent ass out of this place, because lady, the bitch is back.
Maude: Do you think I'm going to take that from trash like you?
Cordelia: I'll tell you what I think.  I think you're going to pack your little ghost-bags and get the hell out of MY HOUSE!!
At that point, Maude vanishes, things in the air that were previously flying fall down, and Angel kills Griff.  Everything seems to have stopped, when Cordy walks out with freaky looking eyes.  She takes a lamp and beats the crap out of that wall she didn't like before.  Then we see a flashback of Maude building the wall with her son tied up inside, screaming for help.  She murdered her son to keep him away from his girlfried, and right after, she died of a heart attack.  Well, once Cordy beats the wall down enough, we see a skeleton inside (much to Maude's horror).  A sort of spirit cloud rises out from the skeleton, attacks Maude, and makes her vanish to a probably not-so-nice place.  Dennis' (Maude's son's) revenge.

Later, at Doyle's apartment, Doyle puts a new lock on his door and Angel asks him to tell him something about his past.  Doyle says he will, but he needs time.  At Cordy's apartment, we see that that wall Cordy had always hated (and she had a good reason for it!) has been taken down and the apartment looks better than ever.  She talks to her friend Ara on the phone (apologizing for the incompetent secretary not telling her she called), and raves about how great her apartment (and its view!) is.  She does have a roommate, she says, but he doesn't really get in the way.

Cordelia: Yeah, I have a roommate, but it's cool, I never see him.  [a can moves across the table and Cordelia covers the phone] Hey, hey Phantom Dennis.  Put that back. [can moves back and Cordelia goes back on the phone] All in all, it's working out great! [TV turns on and Cordy covers the phone again] Dennis, when I'm on the phone, it's quiet time. [TV turns off] Thanks! [back on phone] Sorry, so, where were we?  Tell me who's wearing what in Sunnydale.  No!!  Well she never did have any taste. [laugh] She's so nasty.
Most memorable line
There's so many to choose from, but I guess the most memorable is this one:
Cordelia: Back off, polygrip!  You think you're bad?  All mean, and haunty?  Picking on poor, pathetic Cordy?  Well get ready to haul your wrinkly, translucent ass out of this place, because lady, the bitch is back.
It's an instant Cordelia classic!

Most memorable scene

Wow, just about every scene with Cordelia was so memorable.  Of course, there was the great confrontation between Cordy and the ghost at the end that was truly wonderful.  I also really liked Cordy talking to Angel about how she's being "punished".  That let us see so much more into her character and it was a defining scene for Cordelia.  I also liked the ending a lot, too, because Cordy was back to being her good old self again.

Other Characters

Doyle: This episode is also an especially good teaser for the character of Doyle, who we know practically nothing about.  A lot of mystery has been added to his character: who does he owe money to?  what's so dark about his past?  how is he going to avoid situations like this in the future?  It was especially nice to hear him tell Angel that Cordelia is one of the bright spots in his life and also to see his harmless attempts to hit on Cordy.  Doyle is a good compliment to Cordelia's character.

Angel: Angel was kind of in the background this week, which is a good thing seeing as we've seen him much more than other characters so far.  He's not the most tolerant vampire when it comes to roommates, but then again, it is Cordy....

Kate: Still not much with the character of Kate; she was pretty functional in this episode.  This is probably Joss' way of getting us used to her presence before he involves her majorly in any kind of new storyline.

Phantom Dennis: The newest character in Angel's world: a ghost who's a little bit pissed off with his mother.  Will we see more of him?  Only Joss knows.  But Cordelia doesn't really have to worry as she has him wrapped around her finger.

Aura: One of the "Cordettes" serving as a reminder of Cordelia's past.



Mesuvius: What is there NOT to like about this episode?  Jane Espenson has created a truly remarkable hour of Cordy fun.  I feel like we've learned more about Cordelia in this one episode than we have in some seasons of Buffy! (okay, that was an exaggeration, but you get my point :)) Charisma did an outstanding job also.  She went between comic and dramatic scenes with amazing ease.  This episode gives much-needed insight into Cordelia post-richness also, because until now we had no idea how she really felt about what she was going through.  I also like how strongly her identity was based on what she had and how she couldn't really give up the apartment because of that.  That was a nice touch that seemed really consistent with Cordy's character.  So, now that Charisma has proved that she can easily handle an episode, I hope that Cordy episodes become a big trend in the future. :)
My Cordelia rating: A perfect 10/10!

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