Angel/Recap/S05/E15 A Hole in the World
"There's a hole in the world. Feels like we ought to have known."—~ Spike
In Wolfram & Hart's science lab, Knox oversees the delivery of a sarcophagus; when Fred touches one of the crystals that cover the lid, a puff of dusty air is released, making her cough. As Fred meets Wesley downstairs, she coughs up blood and collapses; after she regains consciousness in the medical wing, her friends assure her that she'll be okay, even though they don't know what's wrong with her.
The group rushes to the lobby, where Angel admits some sort of parasite is slowly killing Fred. Angel, Spike, and Lorne go to Lindsey's apartment, where they encounter Eve, who says she knows nothing about what's happening to Fred and hasn't heard from Lindsey. Eve sings a little of "L.A. Song" to Lorne, who determines she's not involved. As the guys leave, Eve says there's no info on the sarcophagus in the firm's records, and the only thing not in the firm's records are records on the most ancient demons, known as the Old Ones.
When the group returns to Wolfram & Hart, Wesley tells them the demon in question is Illyria, "a great monarch and warrior of the demon age" who was buried in the Deeper Well, the burial ground for the remaining Old Ones. Fred is being "hollowed out" so Illyria can use her to return to the world. Angel and Spike go to the Deeper Well to speak with its keeper, Drogyn; as the duo heads into the Well, Angel tells Spike to avoid asking Drogyn questions, as Drogyn cannot lie.
As Gunn tries to find a way to save Fred -- and discover who was responsible for the sarcophagus' arrival in the first place -- Knox suggests freezing Fred in the cryogenics lab until they figure out how to stop what's killing her. When his tests don't work out, Knox tells Gunn, "I don't just care about Fred -- I practically worship it." Gunn catches the slip of the tongue and accuses Knox of causing what's happening to Fred. Knox admits he is one of Illyria's acolytes -- then tells Gunn how the sarcophagus arrived at Wolfram & Hart: Gunn signed for it to receive a boost to his enhanced mental abilities, which had begun to deteriorate since he joined up with Wolfram & Hart.
As Angel and Spike explore the Deeper Well, Drogyn says Illyria's essence can be drawn out of Fred by returning the sarcophagus to the Well -- but Illyria's essence will leave Fred and kill every person between Los Angeles and the Deeper Well if this is done. Angel and Spike realize they can't allow even a single death to occur, much less thousands, to save Fred. All hope to save Fred is lost.
In her apartment, Fred asks Wesley if he would have loved her; he says he's always loved her, even before he knew her. She asks him to tell her parents she wasn't scared; as he begins to weep, Fred's eyes turn blue, then her body twitches and sends Wesley across the room, where he watches her skin and hair turn blue. Illyria has taken over Fred for good; after her rebirth, she says only one thing:
"This will do."
- Always Save the Girl
- Ancient Keeper: Drogyn the Battlebrand, guardian of the Deeper Well
- Ancient Tomb: The Deeper Well.
- The Bad Guy Wins
- Bad Liars
- Berserk Button: Don't tell Wesley that you're not working Fred's case.
- Or ask Drogyn any questions.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Lorne is surprisingly threatening towards Eve when he thinks she had a hand in Fred's illness.
Lorne: If I hear one note, one quarter note, that tells me you had any involvement, these two won't even have time to kill you.
- Blood From the Mouth:
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: Wesley's face is sprayed with blood.
- Book Ends
- Call Back:
- Can Not Tell a Lie: Drogyn. According to Joss Whedon this was so that when he told Angel Fred was really going to die, the audience would believe him.
- The original idea was to have Angel and Spike fly out to England to see Giles, as Joss needed someone whom Angel considered credible to give the bad news. The limited budget prevented them from flying in Anthony Stewart Head for a cameo.
- Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate: The Trope Namer. Wesley walks in on Spike and Angel nose-to-nose and yelling at each other, after they've spent 40 minutes shouting at each other about who would win in a fight between cavemen and astronauts. Supposedly, the whole thing was based on the time Joss Whedon walked into the writers room and saw "CAVEMEN VS ASTRONAUTS - WEAPONS TBD' on the wall.
Wesley: [Beat] Do the astronauts have weapons?
Angel and Spike: NO.
- And everyone agrees with Spike that astronauts don't stand a chance against cavemen.
- Continuity Nod: Wesley asks if Gunn's okay with it, and Gunn says, "Last year you wouldn't have asked me that question. The man becomes civilized!"
- When Fred asks, "I'm a mummy, aren't I?", Spike replies, "I've fought plenty of mummies, and none of them were as pretty as you." After a beat, he amends that: "--Well, almost none." This could be a possible reference to the Buffy S2 episode "Inca Mummy Girl". However, Spike did not appear in that episode.
- Eve sings a snippet of "L.A. Song", the song Lindsey strummed on his guitar at Caritas in "Dead End".
- Lorne says that Eve reads clean. Angel says, "You've been wrong before," referencing the time a traitorous W&H employee slipped through Lorne's mind reading, as well as the time Lorne failed to detect that Angel's soul had not been restored in Angelus.
- "I lived in a cave for five years in a world where they killed my kind like cattle -- I am not gonna be be cut down by some monster flu, I am better than that!"
- While en route to England, Angel anxiously mentions that he's never flown in an airplane before -- though he has rode in a helicopter. This is an allusion to the helicopter he used to thwart Wolfram & Hart's Spec Ops team in the season premiere ("Conviction"). Angel has also hung onto the outside of an airborne helicopter ("Sanctuary").
- Conveniently-Timed Attack From Behind: One egg starts to open up behind Fred without her spotting it. It explodes when Wesley fires his shotgun at it.
- Damsel in Distress
- Death by Flashback: The episode opens with a flashback of Fred leaving for LA.
- Digging to China: As Spike stands on the bridge, peering into the depths of the Well, he surmises that there's "a bloke somewhere in New Zealand" staring right back down at him.
- Double Vision / Evil Twin: The Conduit takes on Gunn's shape.
- Dramatic Irony: Fred's parents, Roger and Trish, are nervous about her leaving for the big awful city. Fred reassures her dad, it's city of angels. Roger snorts, "And if you meet one angel there, I'll eat the dogs."
- The Easy Way or the Hard Way
- Empathic Environment: The scene where Fred collapses on the staircase was filmed from a direct angle, giving the characters the appearance of being 'entangled' in the railings.
- This, in addition to the static shot of Angel's jet hovering (i.e. not zooming) in the air, communicate the futility of the heroes' attempts to save Fred.
- Eldritch Location: The Deeper Well.
- Everyone Can See It: Wes asks if Gunn already knows about his relationship with Fred. Gunn says it's on every Blackberry in the building. Even the secretarial pool knows.
Harmony: No secrets in the House of Pain.
- This is the second time that Angel was unaware of Fred's romantic life. The first was when Fred and Gunn broke up in "Double or Nothing".
- Eye Awaken
- Expository Hairstyle Change
- Final Speech: In her last moments of death, Fred begins to see Wolfram and Hart for what it really is. This echoes Cordelia's warning to Angel in the episode "You're Welcome".
- Foreshadowing: The gang wonder if the Senior Partners sent the sarcophagus; Gunn says he'll go to the White Room and see if he can talk to the conduit. Gunn goes to the White Room and tries to summon the panther, who doesn't appear. Instead, he gets socked in the face and turns to see -- himself (actually The Conduit in the form of Gunn). Although Gunn doesn't realize it yet, The Conduit is showing him the true 'culprit' behind Illyria's escape.
- Lorne's prophecy that Eve's future is "not too bright" comes to fruition in "Not Fade Away".
- The episode ends with the realization that all the cutting-edge tech in the world can't save Fred from a primordial demon that's infected her. Cavemen win.
- Geeky Turn On:
Fred: [The insects] reproduce by vomiting up crystals that attract and mutate the microbes around them to form eggs.
Wesley: Are you trying to turn me on?
- Genius Bonus: Fred's stuffed rabbit is named for American physicist Mitchell Feigenbaum. Hence, the "Master of Chaos."
- Get a Room: Wesley joins Fred above the lobby stairs and the two get lovey-dovey. Lorne sheeshes at the lovebirds and squeezes past them to go downstairs, along with a quip: "Get a balcony."
- Gilligan Cut: The Cold Open flashes back to Texas sometime in the '90s, when Fred was packing up and moving to L.A. -- against the wishes of her parents, who aren't completely thrilled with the idea. Fred promises her parents that she'll be careful and will live a boring life. In the present, she's doing anything but - she's incinerating wall-hugging demon eggs in a sewer with a blowtorch.
- Gut Punch
- Hope Spot: Drogyn explains that the only a true champion can perform the necessary ritual to vanquish Illyria. Angel tells Drogyn that he's looking at two of them. Not so fast; Drogyn informs them that if they bring the sarcophagus back to the well it will draw Illyria from Fred but into every single person it passes between L.A and the well; hundreds of thousands of people will die in agony in order to save her. Angel and Spike are devastated, and Drogyn leaves them to think it over.
- How Many Fingers?: "What's your favorite color? What's your favorite song? Who's the goalkeeper for Manchester United and how many fingers am I holding up?!"
- Human Popsicle
- I Don't Want to Die
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Fred dies in this episode. This makes her the third core member of Angel Investigations to die. The first was Doyle in "Hero" who sacrificed himself to save Angel; the second was Cordelia in "You're Welcome".
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Mummies can be a lot more trouble than you'd think. And you're seeing Wesley now." Fred stammers, and Knox says he didn't want to make her uncomfortable, he just wanted to clear the air. He says, "I love working with you, and that's plenty." Fred coos at how sweet Knox is.
- Insectoid Aliens
- Ironic Nursery Tune: As they pass each other on the stairs, Fred reminds Lorne to meet her for lunch. Lorne calls from over his shoulder that he'll "just look for where the sun shines" and begins to sing, "You Are My Sunshine", Fred picks up the song, and Lorne immediately whips around and reads her thoughts, realizing that something is wrong. A moment later, Fred suddenly starts coughing up blood and convulsing.
- It's Personal
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique / OOC Is Serious Business: Lorne (having been a pacifist up to this point) delivers not only his first punch, but first death threat to Eve. Having seen his homeland, it's safe to say Lorne could make good on his threat and kill her in an instant, but opts not to.
- Loss of Identity: In Fred's bedroom, Fred suddenly panics and says they needs to find Feigenbaum. When Wesley asks who that, Fred breaks down and realizes that she can no longer remember.
- Make an Example of Them / Tranquil Fury: Wesley makes it clear to his staff that Fred is their priority when a toady enters Wesley's office requesting a file. Wesley tells him it can wait, but when the lawyer complains, Wes calmly pulls out a gun from the drawer and shoots him in the kneecap.
Wesley: [on speaker-phone] Jennifer, Please send anyone else not working Miss Burkle's case to me.
- Meaningful Echo: In the episode "Through the Looking Glass" (2x21), Fred's first lines to Angel are: "Handsome man... saved me from the monsters." Then again in this episode, Fred says her last lines to Angel: "Handsome man saves me," as Angel leaves her in the hospital room.
- Also, her dying words.
Fred: Cavemen win. Of course cavemen win...
- Mirror Match: DoppelGunn.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Knox says that Los Angeles is the site of Illyria's former kingdom, adding that her sarcophagus was supposed to teleport back to the city, but the continents drifted. He and the other acolytes were trying to get it to Wolfram & Hart, but then it got stuck in Customs. Knox whips out a piece of paper and shows it to Gunn, saying, "But you took care of that."
- No Except Yes: Angel accusingly says that Spike just likes stabbing him.
Spike: I'm shocked -- shocked --- that you'd say that. I much prefer hitting you with blunt instruments.
- No Sympathy: Fred hurries over to Angel, and he reassures her that he's okay. Fred apologetically explains that she just wants to retrieve the dead "specimen." Gee, thanks.
- Noodle Incident: Fred and Knox are in the lab, talking about the sarcophagus. Knox says that there wasn't an invoice, so he thought she "went crazy on EBay." Fred retorts, "After that commemorative plate incident, I'm living clean."
- Not Me This Time: Spike suspects the shipment is another magical mail-bomb from Lindsey.
- Off with His Head / Razor Floss: Spike and Angel, with a lovely side of Ho Yay. They hold hands, the orcs rush toward them, and Spike and Angel suddenly stretch out a length of wire between them, decapitating the first row of demons.
- Oh God, Did She Just Hear That?: Gunn is in his office, singing Gilbert and Sullivan's "Three Little Maids from School are We." He spots Wesley outside the room and quickly tries to pretend that he was rapping.
[sings falsetto] "Three little maids from school, three little maaaaiiiiids—- [notices Wesley] ......aaaand ya don't stop, with all the ladies in the gangsta... butt... go... --What's up?
- Oh My Gods: "Well, I'll be damned all over again."
- Punched Across the Room
- Race Against the Clock: Gunn asks Angel what he heard back from Fred's doctor from the doctor, and everyone is shocked to learn when he tells them that a parasitic agent is working its way through Fred's internal organs and that they will liquefy within a day.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Angel tells Spike that he should leave, and explains his theory: "Lindsey brought you back as a spirit bound to this place so you'd become invested in it. He only made you corporeal again once you'd gotten used to it, attached to it." He just wants Spike to go away so he can have the Amulet of Assitude all to himself, and offers to use Wolfram & Hart's resources to transfer Spike anywhere he'd like, all expenses paid: "You fight the good fight, but in style. And if possible, in Outer Mongolia."
- Sadistic Choice: Angel has to choose between saving Fred, but killing thousands of innocents, or letting his friend die horribly.
- Say Your Prayers: Lorne says, "If nobody thinks it's too ridiculous, I'm going to pray."
- Saying Too Much: Back in the lab at Wolfram & Hart, Knox admits defeat as the freezing technique doesn't work and he begins to admit his feelings for Fred which Gunn understands perfectly, but Knox then says "I don't just care about Fred, I practically worship it." Gunn catches this slip of the tongue. Knox backpedals for minute, then smiles darkly. "Oops."
- Shout-Out: Joss took inspiration from an Emmylou Harris song entitled "Deeper Well", which appears on her album Wrecking Ball.
- Wesley reads A Little Princess to Fred as she lies dying. According to Joss, he chose this passage because it's his all-time favorite book.
- Spike and Angel walk through the foggy darkness where the Deeper Well is supposed to be. Spike is grumbling that they can't find the entrance, but Angel points out a large tree with a suspiciously arch-shaped trunk. Spike agrees that it's either the entrance to the Well, "or Christmasland." Angel blinks.
Spike: Do you ever have ANY fun?
- Spike's line reading, "There's a hole in the world" is likely a reference to the song "No Place Like London" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which Joss has admitted to being a fan of.
- Gunn's aforementioned Cringe Comedy moment, singing Gilbert and Sullivan's "Three Little Maids".
- Star-Crossed Lovers: It's a Whedon show. It's hardly unexpected that when the Official Couple finally resolve their sexual tension one of them will have their soul consumed and become possessed by an ancient demon.
- Back in Fred's room, Fred asks Wesley to kiss her. They do that for a while. When they're done, Fred asks, "Would you have loved me?" Wesley chokes up as he says that he's loved her since he's known her. And then adds "No...I think maybe even before."
- Sword Over Head: Knox happily suggests that Gunn should spend his time figuring out how he wants to explain this to his friends. Gunn interrupts Knox by clanging him in the head with a metal container. Gunn stands over an unconscious Knox, raises the container up again, and then looks around the lab before dealing Knox another nasty blow.
- Take That: Eve's knocked down with one punch, and Lorne leans over into Eve's face and tells her to sing for him. He adds that if he detects that Eve was involved with Fred's sickness, "these two won't even have time to kill you." After a moment, he adds, "Oh, and anything by Diane Warren will also result in your death. --Well, except 'Rhythm of the Night.'"
- Team Spirit: Although Spike can leave, it seems as though he's become attached to Team Angel.
- As much as Angel and Spike argue in this episode and since their meeting, they show a sense of loyalty and value in one another when they have common goals.
- Unwanted Rescue: In the demon nest, Angel and Spike are bickering again; this time because Spike put his sword through Angel's torso in order to impale a bug which is still hanging from the blade.
- A Worldwide Punomenon: Lorne offers to tag along, too, "in case anybody feels like singing."
- Weakened by the Light: Fred quivers on the bed as she deteriorates and she whispers to Wesley that the light is hurting her eyes, and yet she's too scared to turn them off.
- Wham! Episode
- When I Was Your Age: Fred's parents fret over their daughter leaving Texas for seedy L.A. Fred sarcastically suggests remaining home forever, living in her old room with her husband and tiny babies sleeping in the dresser drawers. Roger Burkle doesn't see a downside to that plan.
Roger: I slept in a drawer 'til I was three. Didn't stunt me none. [storms out]
- Will Not Be a Victim: Fred explicitly says as much.
- You Are My Sunshine: Lorne sings this moments before Fred collapses. That's called 'asking for it.'
- You Talk Too Much