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Rm w/a Vu

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Angel
Season 1, Episode 5
RmwVuMain
Air date November 2, 1999
Written by Jane Espenson (teleplay & story)
David Greenwalt (story)
Directed by Scott McGinnis
Episode Guide
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I Fall to Pieces
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Sense & Sensitivity
Cast
Starring
David Boreanaz Angel
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
Glenn Quinn Doyle
Guest Starring
Elisabeth Röhm Kate
Beth Grant Mrs. Pearson
Co Starring
Markus Redmond Griff
Denny Pierce Vic
Greg Collins Keith
Corey Klemow Young Man
Lara McGrath Manager
B.J. Porter Dennis
Uncredited
Lyle Kanouse Disgusting Man

"Rm w/a Vu" (Room with a View) is fifth episode of the first season of Angel and the fifth episode overall. It was originally broadcast on November 2, 1999. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Scott McGinnis.

When Cordelia Chase flees her cockroach-infested apartment and stays with Angel, Doyle joins them in escaping from demon bounty hunters looking for him after he overspends a personal loan granted to him from a demon gangster. Later, Cordelia's rags-to-riches life takes a turn when Doyle finds her the perfect rent-controlled apartment which they soon learn comes with a price; it is haunted by a former tenant, an old woman who walled her grown up son alive in one of the walls.

Synopsis

At Angel Investigations, Cordelia reenacts her commercial audition for Doyle, aggrievedly wondering why she didn't get the role. The phone rings, and the answering machine picks up. As Cordelia's friend Aura leaves a message, Cordelia still doesn't answer the phone, explaining to Doyle that she doesn't want to talk to anybody until after her career takes off and she has a better apartment. Doyle wanders into Angel's office; Angel obligingly answers Doyle's curiosity about Cordelia, reminiscing about her high school reign of terror with the Cordettes. Meanwhile, Cordelia arrives at her rundown apartment, where the key sticks in the front lock, the fluorescent light flickers and buzzes, brown sludge spurts from the kitchen faucet, and roaches scurry across the TV screen and floor. She frantically calls building services, only to be assured that the exterminator sprayed for roaches that day. Upon discovering the multitude of dead roach bodies carpeting her carpet, Cordelia calls Doyle to take him up on his offer of a place to stay. Hearing the phone ring inside, Doyle rushes to let himself into his apartment, but a menacing demon—hired to strong-arm Doyle into paying a debt—greets him from the shadows. Doyle eludes the demon and flees his apartment. Meanwhile, Angel finds Cordelia has come to stay—indefinitely.

The next morning, Doyle stops by Angel's apartment; he is upset to see Cordelia spent the night. Cordelia, unpacking her cheerleading trophies and scorched high school diploma, informs Doyle she gave his address to somebody from his "part of England." He's worried at this, and when Angel calls down that Doyle has company, he bolts out the back. When he reaches the building's foyer however, Angel is silently waiting there, having tricked Doyle into admitting his difficulty. He proposes a deal—if Doyle will help Cordelia find a new apartment, Angel will deal with Doyle's demon debt collector.

Doyle and Cordelia go apartment hunting. After many failed attempts, Cordelia is ecstatic to be shown into an airy, beautiful, rent-controlled apartment. Telling Doyle that the unsightly wall that needs removing adds to its perfection, Cordelia immediately closes the deal. In the meantime, Angel waits at Doyle's apartment until the demon, Griff, shows up. Griff explains that his boss no longer cares about the money, but needs to make an example of Doyle by ordering him hit. Angel informs Griff that he'll be the next victim unless he convinces his boss to accept Angel's guarantee of payment and to let Doyle live. Later that night, Doyle is unhappy that he has to pay, but concedes that it is better than the alternative. Angel probes for some hint of Doyle's backstory, but desists when his friend grows uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Cordelia is already asleep at her new apartment, oblivious to the radio turning itself on and bureau drawers opening by themselves. She wakes with a start when a drawer bangs shut, and soon discovers why this apartment was so reasonable—it is haunted. She spends the rest of the night huddled in her bed, which floats four feet in the air.

The next morning, after Cordelia's bed thumps to the floor, she attempts to go about her normal routine, until the ghostly activity starts up again in the living room. Desperate to keep her beautiful apartment, Cordelia pretends to be unaffected by the flying objects and cold wind that the ghost conjures, and even manages a few snarky exorcism gibes. Angel and Doyle stop by with a housewarming gift, and quickly realize the apartment is haunted when the word 'die' starts dripping from the wall. They carry Cordy, struggling, out the door, promising to help her perform an exorcism. At the office, the team researches the building's history for a clue to the ghost's identity, which might hint how to get rid of it. The evidence points to Maude Pearson, builder, owner and first resident of the Pearson Arms building. While Doyle goes to pick up the arcane supplies for the exorcism, Angel finds out from Detective Kate Lockley that Maude Pearson's sudden death by heart attack appears in the police archives, due to the suspicious disappearance of her son Dennis the same day. Learning that there was friction between Maude and her son's fiancée, Angel concurs with the prevailing theory that Dennis murdered Maude, made it look like natural causes, then skipped town with his girl. At the office, Cordelia gets a call from Angel and goes to meet him at her apartment. Puzzled by the absence of subsequent murders to mark the haunting, Angel asks Kate to check for reports of suicides in that apartment - and on hearing the answer, calls the office to warn Cordelia. Doyle answers, and reports Cordy isn't there. He plays back the answering machine, which recorded the call Cordy took from Angel. Clutching the payphone receiver, Angel says, "That's not me."

Angel105-dennis

Dennis

At the apartment, Cordelia folds under Maude's spate of abuse. When Doyle and Angel burst in, they find Cordelia hanged with an electrical cable. Frantically, Doyle unwraps the cord while Angel lifts her down, and Cordelia coughs back to consciousness. They begin the exorcism without Cordelia, who is an incoherent sobbing wreck from Maude's emotional and physical attacks, but a cyclone of flying debris prevents them from completing the ritual. Angel shouts to Doyle that they need to leave; they pick up Cordelia once more. The door suddenly slams open and they look down the barrels of three enormous guns belonging to Griff and two of his cronies. At Angel's reminder that Griff agreed to let Doyle pay, the demon replies, "I lied." Doyle and Angel brawl with the goons, while Maude telekinetically pulls Cordelia back into the bedroom to continue tormenting her. However, Maude makes a tactical error by calling Cordelia a bitch. This reminds Cordelia that she is one, and she begins to fight back. As Angel snaps Griff's neck, Cordelia exits the bedroom, and wields a cast iron lamp like a sledgehammer to knock down the partition, revealing a skeleton moldering behind the wall. In a mystical flashback, the team learns that Maude Pearson prevented Dennis from leaving with his fiancée by bricking him alive into that very wall. Upon completion, Maude suffered a heart attack and died. Now Maude's spirit stands in Doyle's binding circle and screams, as the ghost of her son Dennis roars to the attack, dispersing and banishing his mother's ghost forever.

As Angel watches Doyle install a new deadbolt on his apartment door, he quietly reminds Doyle that he'll need to reveal his background at some point. Meanwhile Cordelia is raving about her new apartment to Aura on the phone. She admits she has a roommate, but claims she "never sees him." Hearing himself mentioned, the ghost, whom Cordelia affectionately calls Phantom Dennis, gently makes his presence known.

Continuity

  • Cordelia's apartment is pressed into service as Angel Investigations's HQ at the beginning of season two, and remains part of the show until season four.
  • This episode introduces phantom Dennis, who will be Cordelia's "roommate" for the next three years. Friendly with Cordelia's friends ("She") and exhibiting caring feelings for Cordelia herself ("Expecting"), Dennis warns his roomie repeatedly about dangerous intruders ("Five by Five").
  • Cordelia's friend Aura is first seen in the Buffy series premiere, "Welcome to the Hellmouth", in which the Buffyverse's first dead body, a boy bitten and drained by Darla, falls out of her gym locker. Aura is mentioned again in "Prophecy Girl".
  • Doyle mentions that Cordelia's diploma is burnt, to which Cordy replies it was a rough graduation, referring to the battle against the Mayor in Graduation Day, Part Two, and how the diplomas were toasted when Sunnydale High School was destroyed. A closer examination of the diploma shows an R. Snyder signed under principal, and there is a blank spot for the signature of the Mayor of Sunnydale, who, rather than sign the diplomas, ascended into a demon and tried to eat the students. 
  • Cordelia mentions Buffy Summers when back-talking to Maude, claiming she wasn't a 'little cry-Buffy'.

Body Count

  • Vic, killed by Maud Pearson's ghost
  • Griff, killed by Angel
  • Dennis Pearson, killed by his mother, several decades before episode's events
  • Maud Pearson, heart attack, several decades before episode's events
  • Maud Pearson's ghost, destroyed by Dennis' ghost.

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • Writer Jane Espenson intended the episode's title to match the format of a classified ad. She also considered "Re: Lease" as a possible title.
  • The episode is "really all about Cordelia regaining her inner bitch," says supervising producer Tim Minear.

Pop Culture References

  • MasterCard commercials: Doyle tries to jolly Griff into giving him a little more lead time on his debt, but the demon, like wiseguys in every dimension, apparently believes money can buy "things like friendship and family," because he clearly doesn't consider them "priceless."
  • Patrick Swayze: Cordelia is referring to the 1990 movie, Ghost, in which Swayze plays the eponymous spectre, Sam Wheat, who has unfinished business with his beloved wife.

International titles

  • German: Zimmer mit Aussicht (Room with a View)

Music

Other

  • Kate teases Angel for having - like "Popes and rock stars" - only one name; Angel replies, "You got me, I'm the Pope." Later, in "Somnambulist", the serial killer whom Angel suspects may be himself is dubbed "The Pope" by the tabloids. Minear says, "That was completely unintentional...a happy coincidence that worked out wonderfully for the show."
  • Charisma Carpenter lists this episode as one of her personal favorites.
  • This episode is Cordelia-centric

Quotes

Doyle - Hey Cordy, you're looking great, by the way.
Cordelia - I wouldn't know, the man doesn't have a mirror! Like it'd kill him to not see himself?
Doyle - Come on, you know I was crazy about her, and I was wearin' her down, too. But no, handsome, brooding, vampire guy has to swoop in, all sensitive mouth and overhangin' forehead. How 'bout leaving some scraps for the homely-looking fellas who don't turn evil when they get some?
Angel - Cordelia stayed over because something's wrong with her place. I was on the sofa.
Doyle - Oh. That's okay, I suppose.
Cordelia - It's amazing in there! What's wrong with it?
Griff - I saw what I saw, right? You're a vampire. How come you're helping some lil' demon half-breed?
Angel - It's a good offer. You should take it. On the other hand, you're making me want to fight some more. You get lucky, you might last ten minutes. Really lucky, and you're unconscious for the last five."
Griff - You get Doyle to pay and he's safe.
Angel - Thanks. Good meeting.
Doyle - Cordy, it says 'die'!
Cordelia - Hey, maybe it's not done. Maybe it's 'diet'. That's friendly. A little judgmental, sure.
Kate - I wish I could be more help.
Angel - It's okay. Just knowing things that didn't happen is a help. You know, eliminating the possibilities.
Kate - Now you're talking like a detective.
Angel - I am a detective.
Kate - Well, see, the thing about detectives is they have résumés and business licenses, and last names. Pop stars and popes, those are the one-name guys.
Angel - You got me. I'm a pope.

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