|Season 1, Episode 17|
|Air date||April 4, 2000|
|Written by||Tracey Stern|
|Directed by||Regis Kimble|
"Five by Five"
|Alexis Denisof|| Wesley |
|Michael Mantell|| Oliver |
Angel befriends a television star with a dream of becoming eternally young and beautiful.
Angel and Wesley are attending a rehearsal for a play in which Cordelia Chase has a part. They want to escape, but see no way to do it. Afterward, the three of them are walking together when Cordelia spots Oliver Simon, a well-known talent manager, and a famous actress, Rebecca Lowell. When Rebecca crosses the street, a parked car pulls into traffic and accelerates toward her, as if the driver intends to murder her. Angel pushes her out of the car's path, saving her life. Oliver offers Angel a reward, but he refuses to accept it. Cordelia gives Rebecca a business card for Angel Investigations.
The next day, the papers report on the rescue, but Angel is not mentioned in the story. Rebecca and two boydguards come to Angel Investigations, asking for Angel's help with a stalker fan. Angel declines to take the case. This infuriates Cordelia, who sees it as a chance for her to network with Hollywood people. Wesley explains that Angel cannot take the case because he likes Rebecca and is afraid of getting close. Angel remains silent. When Wesley says he agrees with Angel's decision not to take the case, Cordelia pretends to have a vision about Rebecca being in danger. Wesley and Angel are not fooled.
At her house, Rebecca is receiving a painful skin treatment. She is considering plastic surgery. She hosts a party that night. After her guests leave, a masked man breaks in. Angel, who has evidently been watching the house, breaks through a sliding glass door to protect Rebecca. The masked man escapes. Rebecca notices that Angel has no reflection. Angel disappears. Rebecca's bodyguards call the police. After the police leave the house, Rebecca calls out Angel, knowing he is still in the house. She knows he is a vampire, but is not frightened. She asks Angel to stay in the house for the night.
The next morning, Angel phones Wesley to say he is taking Rebecca's case. Cordelia is worried that Angel might turn evil. She goes to Rebecca's house with three lattes and a large wooden cross. Angel tells her that Rebecca knows he is a vampire.
Rebecca has lunch with Oliver, who tells her that she did not get a part she was hoping for. Oliver says the producers want to hear her read.
Back at her house, Rebecca tells Angel that she is not used to reading for parts. Her career is in decline, after more than a year off the air.
That night, Rebecca attends a premiere, with Angel as her bodyguard. After making their appearance on the red carpet Rebecca tells Angel they're leaving through a back door (since she never actually watches the movie). As they walk down the alley behind the theatre, an attacker in evening dress shoots at them but Angel fights him off. Rebecca recognizes the attacker as a stunt man whom Oliver once represented. When Oliver appears at the scene, he confesses that he arranged the attacks on Rebecca to get publicity for her. Rebecca guesses that she did not get the part she was hoping for. Oliver explains that she is now too "mature" for some roles, and no one can stay young forever. Rebecca glances at Angel.
Back at Angel Investigations, Wesley and Angel have already worked out that the stalking was a hoax since the shooter was using blanks and Angel guesses the reason behind it. He is worried that Rebecca will be hurt if she learns that no one cares about her enough to stalk her.
Rebecca invites an excited Cordelia to go shopping with her. As the two walk the streets of LA, Rebecca pumps Cordelia for information on Angel.
Rebecca comes to Angel Investigations uninvited. Finding Angel in his basement apartment, she offers him a bottle of champagne as a gift. She spills some of her wine on Angel, who leaves to change his shirt. She pours a powder into his drink. When he returns, she offers a toast and both drink.
Cordelia pages Wesley to her apartment. When he arrives, she tells him that Rebecca was curious about Angel and confesses that she told Rebecca much about him, including the fact that Angel is able to make someone else into a vampire. Cordelia has guessed that Rebecca wants to be a vampire herself.
At Angel's apartment, Angel is more relaxed and it seems the drug is taking effect. In a seductive manner, Rebecca suggests that Angel make her a vampire. Angel refuses, saying she doesn't know what she is doing. In sudden rage, he takes blood from his refrigerator and sprays some of it into her mouth so she will have a taste of what she is asking for. Surprised at his own feelings and actions, Angel guesses that she drugged him. She admits it, saying she wanted to lower his defenses a little by slipping him a 'happy pill'. However the pill has caused Angel to feel perfect bliss, reverting him into Angelus who bites her shoulder and takes on his demon face. She strikes him with a candle stick, then escapes into the elevator.
Rebecca's elevator stops between floors. Rebecca attempts to escape from the bottom of the elevator into Angel's office, where she finds Wesley and Cordelia. She admits that she gave Angel a drug called Doximall, a powerful tranquilizer that induces bliss. Wesley is "reasonably sure" that the effects will wear off, as the happiness was synthetic rather than actual perfect happiness and the good Angel will return once the drug leaves his system. The lights go out as Angelus cuts the power. Angelus enters the office, where he mocks Wesley for his inferiority complex and Cordelia for her bad acting, cruelly imitating her. Cordelia threatens him with a bottle of water, which she claims is holy water. Angelus says she is bluffing, but Cordelia insists that she knew there was a change Angel could lose his soul at any time and has been prepared. Angelus tries to call her bluff, but isn't so sure and when Cordelia splashes it on him he recoils... only to discover it is just normal water. However Wesley takes advantage of the few seconds of opportunity and knocks Angelus down the elevator shaft, knocking him out cold.
When Angel wakes up, he is chained to his bed. After confirming that Rebecca is gone and, unsurprisingly, will no longer be using his services he apologizes to Cordelia and Wesley for what he said, and Wesley accepts telling Angel he understands what a fine line he walks. Cordelia however is still angry... not for what he said as Angelus, but for the fact he didn't tell her the truth about her acting noting that at least when he doesn't have a soul he's honest. She agress to put the incident behind her however, but still leaves Angel chained to the bed for a while.
- Oliver Simon, Rebecca's manager, was seen in a brief and uncredited appearance in the series pilot "City of" at Margo's party as the manager who gives Angel his card and disclaims any effort at a come-on.
- This marks the first reappearance of Angelus (excepting flashbacks) since "Becoming, Part Two." This episode stirs up the feeling among Cordelia and Wesley that Angel's soul is a very fragile thing and he could turn on them at any time. This aspect of mistrust plays heavily in season 2.
- This episode demonstrates that the "moment of perfect happiness" that triggers Angel's curse does not have to be sexual. As Wesley points out, Angel became Angelus in the episode "Surprise" not because he had sex, but because he was with Buffy. "It is a very fine line that he walks," Minear says. "And if he goes a little bit too far, there is the danger that he will destroy the very people he's connecting with."
- This is the first time on Angel that Cordelia is shown to have decent acting skills when necessary, as is seen when she convinces Angelus she is holding holy water.
- Angelus later returns in "Awakening" through "Orpheus" after the gang purposefully removes Angel's soul in order to question Angelus on The Beast. Later, Willow restores Angel's soul again, and Angelus never makes a return on the series.
Behind the Scenes
- Originally, Angel was envisioned as being an anthology, with the client of the week providing the emotional center for each episode. However, as the first season progressed, the writers began to concentrate on the emotional interplay between the main characters instead. As producer Tim Minear explains, "You can have an interesting plot and an interesting client, but it's difficult to create sympathy for someone you're introducing for one episode." This episode at first presents events from the guest character's point of view, but "if you look at how the episode ended up," Minear says, "it's really about our core people, and by the end of the episode the client's gone. There's not even a wrap up scene at the end with the actress. It's all about Angel being chained to the bed and Cordelia not untying him." In the first versions of the script, the emotional focus remained on Rebecca for the entire episode, until creator Joss Whedon decided to add the element of Angel going bad. "If that episode had gone before the cameras earlier in the rotation, I think you would have probably seen a different ending, with more emphasis placed on the actress and her problem than on Angel," Minear says.
- Minear says, "I know there was a lot of criticism on the Internet about the way he went bad, and did he really go bad?" However, he feels the drug was a good plot device to bring Angelus into the series "so that he could interact with our characters without doing some big 'Angel has turned evil' arc. You sort of get to have your cake and eat it too in that episode." He adds, "I saw some criticism about Cordelia reacting too Cordelia-like in the first half of the episode with her star-struckness. But that would be her."
- Rebecca Lowell lives in the luxury villa on Bwin PokerIsland, the same mansion where Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" music video was shot on 3 October 2008.
Pop Culture References
- The play in which Cordelia stars at the beginning of this episode is A Doll's House by Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen. Cordelia is playing Nora Helmer, the female main part. The scene shown is from the first act.
- At one point, Rebecca says, "Bela Lugosi and Gary Oldman... they're vampires", to which Angel replies, "I thought Frank Langella was the only performance I believed..." They refer to three actors who have played Dracula, Lugosi in Dracula in 1931, Langella in 1979's Dracula and Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula in 1992.
- When Rebecca says, "Listen to me. Poor little rich girl." she is using a direct quote from Titanic, except Rose goes on to say, "what does she know about misery?" Rebecca does not.
- Entertainment Tonight is mentioned by name.