Angel/Tear Jerker

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"Is that it? Am I done?"

    • Even worse is Cordy's reaction in the start of the next episode
    • Tragic enough back in 1999 when it first aired, but after December 2002? Oh, man.
  • Fred's death in the last season.

Fred: (crying) I need you to talk to my parents. Th-they have to know I wasn't scared, th-that it was quick. That I wasn't scared. Oh, God. I'm not scared. I'm not scared. I'm not scared. Please, Wesley. Why can't I stay?

    • Oh god, "Please, Wesley. Why can't I stay?" breaks me every time. Sniff.
    • It's not even so much Fred's death that gets me every time (although that was beautifully done) as much as her crying out for Feigenbaum, her stuffed rabbit, during "A Hole In The World" and then the indescribably lovely montage of everyone remembering her set to that beautiful song at the end of "Shells." It made my dad, an otherwise fairly tough guy, cry like a baby. Not to mention me...
    • What makes her pleas for Feigenbaum especially heartbreaking is that she doesn't remember who he is any more, just she needs him. It's not just that she's dying, or that she's dying painfully, it's that as it happens, everything about her is going away, forever, not even leaving her soul behind.
    • The song is "A Place Called Home" by Kim Richey, and is a Tear Jerker in its own right, especially since lyrically it's so damn hopeful. Combined with Fred's death? This Troper just bawls any time it plays.
    • What got me was Wesley using the templates (books that could become any book in the world) to read children's stories to her and comfort her as she lay dying.
    • What started this troper was Spike's speech.
    • Don't forget the realization for Angel and Spike that they chose not to save her. They could have, and chose not to, because the cost was still too great. They let Fred die because it was the right thing to do, as horrible as it was.
    • In this troper's opinion, the most heartbreaking scene in the whole arc was Gunn approaching the evil-medical-law-guy to try and undo the damage:

Gunn: Take it back. All of it, the law language, take it back. [Beat] Take more! Leave me a vegetable! I don't care, just bring her back.

      • Oh, and:

Harmony: Why'd you do it?
Gunn: Because I was scared. Because I didn't want to lose it. Because I didn't want to go back to being just the muscle. Because of a million reasons that don't mean a damn thing because she's gone.

      • It gets worse when the normally airheaded and soulless vampire Harmony simply acknowledges his sadness and sincerely comforts him.
    • Even Lorne gets a heartbreaking scene at the beginning of "Underneath," when he's reading the bartender at the bar where he's drowning his sorrows.
  • As well as Wesley's death in the final episode, including the part where Illyria turns back into Fred for him.

Illyria: Would you like me to lie to you now?
Wesley: Yes. Thank you, yes.

    • What choked up this troper about the scene is when Wesley out, Illyria is sobbing "oh my love." That doesn't sound like Fred inside Illyria talking, it's the grief of the demon-king itself for a mortal love. Thank you, Mayfly-December Romance and Joss Whedon, thank you, you've brought down Cthulhu!
  • This troper is now tearful just from reading this. Thank you, fellow tropers!
    • And then this. The demon-king grieves.

Illyria: Wesley's dead. I'm feeling grief for him. I can't seem to control it.

    • What makes this troper beside himself is the way Fred was depicted. She needed saving at the start, but was perfectly capable of saving others when she recovered. She was a geek, and proudly so. She was cute and pretty, not sexed up to the extent other female characters on the show could be. She overate. She was shy. She was innocent without being naive. She was the ultimate geek girl, designed to tug at the heartstrings of the target audience. Of course Joss made her to die horribly. It was the whole point of her character.
  • Also in the season 5's so silly to say it but my tears started flowing when we saw Spike in that little cafe reciting his poetry. It was really kind of sweet that that's what he wanted to do with what might've been his last day on earth.
  • "I Will Remember You".
    • Well, you see, that never technically happened and we prefer not to think about *sniffle* it...
  • Angel forgiving Judy and staying with her until she dies in "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been".
  • When something can make you cry the first time you watch it, when you have next-to-zero knowledge of the epic love story and heartbreak that came before...damn, that's some great writing and acting. Of course, after you have aforementioned knowledge-well, just pass the bucket to hold my tears, please.
    • I was doing fine, FINE DAMMIT, until the moment that Buffy becomes hysterical at the idea of only having one more minute with Angel as his human self and he begs her not to cry. Anyone who's broken up with someone they were still in love with should be BANNED from this episode.
  • Cordelia's farewell. "Oh, and you're welcome." Bawl.
  • For me, all of the above, plus, the season four finale: Angel looking in at the happy, laughing Connor with his different family. That expression on his face, of love and bitter bitter pain...not that I'm tearing up just thinking about it or anything. Damn you and your incredible writing skills combined with a tendency towards ruthlessness towards your characters, Joss. The only show I ever cried at before yours was Babylon 5, and you made a regular waterworks out of me.
    • It gets so much worse rewatching Season 3 after you've seen that scene. I started sobbing at Angel's hockey speech in "Loyalty" exactly because I knew he would never get to see any of that, but Connor's fake parents would.

ANGEL: I know it's a little bit too early to be thinking about stuff like this, but I -I can't wait to watch him, you know, grow up. For him to lose his first tooth. Learn how to ride a bike. Ha. I want to help him pick out a tux for his senior prom. I just can't wait to see who he's gonna to be. I know it's mushy, but it's just... He makes me so happy.[ ... ] I think Connor? He's gonna be center, you know?

    • Origins:

CONNOR: You gotta do what you can to protect your family. I learned that from my father.

  • Pretty much anything to do with Connor's birth.
  • When Angel is *thisclose* to staking Darla, then he feels the baby's heartbeat. He backs up, staring at her belly and Darla flips the hell out.

DARLA: Do it! Do it! Make it stop! (Angel pins her arms to her sides and pulls her up against his chest.)
ANGEL: No it won't, Darla. Darla, listen to me.
DARLA: Make it stop! Make it stop.
ANGEL: The child. The child has a heartbeat. It has a soul.
DARLA: No! Not my child! No!
ANGEL: Our child. Our child. Our child. That's why you've been craving purer and purer blood. That's why it's been driving you out of your mind. It has a soul!
DARLA: (sobbing) No, it doesn't.
ANGEL: It does.
DARLA: It can't.
ANGEL: Yes, it does. It does.

  • When Darla stakes herself to give birth to Connor in a moment of Heroic Sacrifice in Season 3.
  • Quite possibly the only example on this page that doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome: The series finale, where Angel and the remnants of the group stand there, waiting to take on the incoming army. Knowing damn well there's no way they're going to survive and Angel closing the series with "Let's get to work," and the show ending with swords clashing.
    • If it makes you feel any better, the canon follow-up comics reveal that they survive.
      • No, that cheapens the moment.
  • The flashback scene where Holtz kills Sarah, his five-year-old-daughter-turned-vampire. At the start of the scene, Sarah is cowering in a corner to avoid the sunlight. Holtz comes over, picks her up, and throws her outside where she burns up.
  • Gunn staking his recently-vamped sister in War Zone. "You aren't going to kill any vamps?" "I already did."
  • Faith in "Five by Five", when she finally breaks and begs Angel to kill her.

"I'm bad! I'm evil! I'm bad, I'm bad! Angel you hear me, I'm bad! Angel, please... Angel, please just do it. Please, Angel, just do it. Kill me. Please, Angel, just kill me."

    • And then Angel holds her as she sobs with remorse and self-hatred and the rain lashes at them both.
  • This troper always finds insane people who know they're insane and wish they weren't to be quite saddening, in any shape or form. Fred happens to be one of those people, and she gets two of these. (1) is the scene in Hearthrob where she's refused to leave her room in the months since she was rescued out of Pylea, and is writing "listen," over and over on the walls. When asked, she tells Angel she's listening for a "click" that would come when everything made sense again, but she doesn't know what to do if she runs out of wallspace before she gets the click. Making the scene more heart-tugging is Angel's obvious concern and disappointment as he realizes that her mental state has apparently gotten worse since Pylea. (2) is the breakdown when her parents find her at the bus station, and she is forced to accept that her five years in a hell dimension were 100% real, not just something she made up. Also, the other reason she was trying to run away from them? She didn't want them to see that she'd gone crazy. "If you see what they made of me..." Sob.
    • And her poor parents... not knowing if she was even alive for five years, finding out she was, NOT BEING ABLE TO FIND HER, and then once they do, they don't know what happened- just that she doesn't want to see them, wondering if she doesn't remember them, and hearing how their daughter had "awful things happen to her". Fred's mom hugging her and telling her, "It doesn't matter what they did to you! You're still my little girl! I'll make it all better!" just makes me choke up every time.
  • Don't forget this heart-breaking scene from "That Vision Thing." Dear god, is Cordy in pain.

Cordy: Am I a bad person? Am I just a horrible person? Because I know I can be snippy sometimes.
Angel: This isn't happening because you're bad - If anything it's because you're strong. Stronger than you realize.
Cordy: "I'm not - I know what I said earlier - But I don't want the visions anymore. I tried to be brave. I did. But I'm just scared now. I'm scared all the time. (Does her best not to cry) I mean look at me!

  • The ridiculously depressing scene in "Salvage" where Wesley talks to his hallucination of Lilah after her death. Alas, Poor Villain does not begin to cover it.

Lilah: Why so glum? It is kinda what you wanted, isn't it? I mean, deep down. Me out of the picture—utterly, finally. You can't get outer than this. It makes your life simpler, doesn't it? Cleaner?
Wesley: I didn't want this.
Lilah: Come on, what are you worried about, Wesley? You hated yourself for being with me. Or maybe you just hated yourself for loving being with me. (laughs) Hey, semantics. In any case, we both knew, sooner or later, it would come to a messy end. For one of us, anyway. (pulls him to face her; she touches his face and arms) So ease up on that furrowed brow. You're free now. No longer encumbered with the secret shame of our relationship.
Wesley: It wasn't a relationship.
Lilah: There's a signed dollar bill in your wallet I think proves different. You knew how I felt.
Wesley: You don't feel.
Lilah: The only true thing I ever - "
Wesley: You didn't love me! You couldn't.
Lilah: We'll never know now, will we? I know what it is. The reason you're having such a hard time with this. Why you're taking so long to - you know..." (makes a creaking noise as she gestures across her throat with her hand) The awful truth: you couldn't save me. And this is the exclamation point.
Wesley: Saved you from the Beast, for all the good it did.
Lilah: Wesley, you know that's not what I'm talking about. You couldn't save me from me.
Wesley: Is that what you thought?
Lilah: Me? (laughs) Lover, I'm not even here. I'm just a figment in your devilishly handsome head. So, clearly, it's what you thought. For all your supposed darkness, edge of the razor mystique, there was always a small part of you that thought you could pull me back from the brink of my evil, evil ways. Help me find redemption.
Wesley: Redemption?
Lilah: Angel's influence, I suppose. The whole not giving up on someone, no matter how far he - or she - has fallen. Oh, well. Too late for me. Let's just get it over with. That body's not gonna dismember itself, you know.
Wesley: I'm sorry, Lilah.
Lilah: Oh, Wes, we don't have that word in our vocabulary. Not people like you and - "
(the axe swings forward)

  • The scene in the season 4 finale, where Wesley burns Lilah's contract to try and free her - and it doesn't work. It's both heartbreaking and heartwarming, to see Lilah, Magnificent Bitch extraordinaire, that obviously moved.

Lilah: Flames wouldn't be eternal if they actually consumed anything. (softly) But it means something, that you tried.

  • The end of season five episode, Damage; after Dana the insane slayer has been carted off, Angel and Spike have a sombre discussion in the latter's hospital room about the nature of evil, finishing up with the absolute heartbreaker:

Spike: The tingling in my forearms tells me she's too far gone to help. She's one of us now. She's a monster.
Angel: She's an innocent victim.
Spike: So were we, once upon a time.
Angel: Once upon a time.

    • Spike spends the bulk of the episode telling Dana that she's got the wrong guy. Eventually he realizes that it doesn't matter, because even though he never did anything to her, he's done plenty worse to other people.
    • This moment from their mutual reminisces on the monsters they used to be was tearjerking Fridge Horror:

Spike: I threw myself in. (bitter laugh) Thought it was a party. I liked the rush, I liked the crunch... never did look back at the victims.
Angel: I couldn't take my eyes off of them.

  • I mean, this is nothing compared to all the epic deaths that fill this page but the opening music gets This Troper every time. The music just sums up exactly what Angel is about. Grief and pain and suffering and the fact that it never ends but someone has to fight for it to continue because that's life.
  • Lineage. Wesley's whole life is pretty much fodder for this page, but excepting Fred's death, this was it. Wesley spent his entire life fearing and trying to prove himself to his father, who cynically downplayed all his son's accomplishments. At the episode's climax, his father threatens Fred, and Wesley guns him down mid-sentence, revealing his "father" as a cyborg duplicate. Fred tries to comfort Wesley, to tell him that somehow Wesley knew it wasn't him... but Wesley rejects that, and says he was certain it was. He was willing to kill his own father to save the woman he loved, and it wasn't some kind of chivalrous moment -- it was a sign of how far he'd fallen, that even his love for Fred provoked such darkness from him. Quietly desperate, he calls his father up, just to talk, but the man rebukes his son for calling him too late at night and waking him.
    • The bit in that episode that always gets me is when -- after all his Character Development, after all the frankly amazing things he's done since joining Angel Investigations -- he walks into that woman and makes her drop her papers, all because his father's there and he can't help but regress to the person he used to be. That's the moment that it really sunk in just how atrocious a father Roger Wyndham-Pryce must've been, and how horrible Wesley's childhood was.
  • To say the least, this is one of the most tragic shows ever created. Nobody gets a happy ending.
  • "A Hole In The World". The whole damn thing.
  • Angel and Cordelia's final scene ever in "You're Welcome"
    • What always kinda got me about this one too was that Angel and Cordelia were the last characters from the first season of Buffy still around.
      • Not quite true: Harmony is also a season 1 Buffy character. In fact, Mercedes McNabb was the only person on either show to appear in both the first episode ('Welcome to the Hellmouth') and the final episode ('Not Fade Away') of the Buffy/Angel franchise.
  • It's worse on DVD. During the original airings, you had a whole month to recover from Cordelia's death before Fred's. On video, both episodes are on the same disc. The Disc of Pain.
    • Interspliced with Smile Time, AKA the Puppet episode. AKA The most gratuitous Mood Whiplash ever created. Brings you up after Cordy's death, only to punch you in the face with Fred's. OUCH.
  • Gunn begging Doctor Sparrow to drain his mind dry, or even leave him a vegetable just to get Fred back. His breakdown with Harmony at the end of "Shells".
  • "Would you like me to lie to you now?"
  • "I Will Remember You", the scene before Reset Button.
    • Buffy(crying): "I'll never forget...I'll never forget..."
  • "Carpe Noctem" where Fred just completely and utterly breaks down after she sees who she thinks to be Angel all over Lilah. As soon as Lilah came in I knew that this scene was coming, and it still managed to be one of the few television experiences to make me cry.
  • Am I the only one who found the opening of "Ground State" absolutely heartbreaking? Forget all about Gwen later on; here she's just a scared little girl being left at a strange new school, with parents who obviously love her deeply but don't have the slightest clue how to deal with a girl who they can't even hug. Then as she's being led away towards the school she looks back towards her parents, they turn to leave, and she tries to take the teachers hand for comfort, but the woman just smacks her hand away and says "No, Gwen." And now I think I have something in my eye....
  • The end of "Sleep Tight," when Angel has to let Holtz take Connor in order to keep him away from Wolfram and Hart, and then Holtz runs into the portal to Quor-Toth, sealing it behind him and leaving Angel lying on the ground, crying for his son.
  • I always found the scene in Season 3 where Angel starts dismantling Connor's cot to be one of the saddest moments ever in a TV series.
  • Kate baring her soul to her father in "Sense and Sensitivity". Sadly, he was not affected. It's a long speech, but it deserves to be told in full:

"He forgot how to be anything but a cop a long time ago. And maybe - maybe that's-that's why I became a cop, too. After Mom died, you stopped, you know. It was like you couldn't stand the sight of me. Her face, her eyes looking up at you. But big girls don't cry, right? You said, gone's gone and there's no use wallowing. Worms and dirt and nothing, forever. Not one word about a better place. You couldn't even tell a scared little girl a beautiful lie. God, I wanted to drink with you. I wanted you to laugh once with me, the way you laugh with Jimmy here, or Frank . . . My best friend, Joanne, her mom was soft and she smelled like macaroni and cheese and she would - she would pick me up on her lap and she'd rock me. She said she wanted to keep me for herself, that I was good and sweet. Everybody said I was. Do you realize that you've never told me that I'm pretty? Not once in my life?"

  • Summer Glau's breakthrough performance (sorry for the loud audio).
  • A minor one, but one of Angel's hallucinations in "Soul Purpose" definitely qualifies. Angel dreams that Spike saves the world and becoming human again as a reward. Angel is the mail-cart guy, and can only stand in silence as his rival receives everything he (Angel) ever wanted. The absolutely crushed look on his face as he leaves and pushes his cart away is pretty damn sad.
  • When Wesley is in the hospital after Justine slit his throat, and the nurse tells him he's going to be released that day, she asks if he has any friends or family who could pick him up. He doesn't respond, but you realize that at this point he has completely alienated every single friend he has, and he has no one.
  • The very end of "Just Rewards", when Spike confesses to Fred that each time he disappears, he is getting pulled into hell. The way he realizes that after all he's done, winning back his soul and sacrificing himself to save the world, he still can't save himself, you can't help but feel sorry for him.

Spike: I know what's down there—where it's trying to take me—and it's not the place heroes go. Not by a bloody long shot. It's the other one. Full of fire and torment. And it's happening. And I'm terrified. (beat) Help me.

    • Never in the history of either show have we ever seen Spike look so vulnerable. Even when Glory was torturing him to death, even when he was an insane gibbering wreck in a basement, he was still defiant on some level. Here, his bravado has just entirely evaporated... he's helpless, and scared, and admitting that he is. Spike is begging Fred to save him in this scene. Spike. Begging.
  • "Spin the Bottle." Amazing how one of the funniest episodes in the series has one of the most depressing endings in television history. Lorne's speech at the end and the pan shot of the empty lounge is too heartbreaking to watch.