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Angel
Season 1, Episode 13
1x13
Air date February 8, 2000
Written by Marti Noxon
David Greenwalt
Directed by David Greenwalt
Episode Guide
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"Expecting"
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Cast
Starring
David Boreanaz Angel
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
Alexis Denisof Wesley
Special Guest Starring
Bai Ling Jhiera
Guest Starring
Colby French Tay
Heather Stephens Shari
Sean Gunn Mars
Co Starring
Tracey Costello Laura
André L. Roberson Diego
P.J. Marino Peter Wilkers
Honor Bliss Girl
Chris Durand Demon Henchman #1
Alison Simpson Demon Girl #1
Lucas Dudley Security Guard

"She" is the thirteenth episode of the first season of Angel and the thirteenth episode overall. Written by Marti Noxon and directed by David Greenwalt, it was originally broadcast on February 8, 2000 on the WB network.

Angel joins forces with Jhiera, a demon princess, who arrives in Los Angeles to save the enslaved women from her dimension. The men of her land are fierce warriors who see their women as second class and want to control them by performing a sort of lobotomy when they come of age. There is a showdown at a health spa where Jhiera is keeping her fleeing followers.

Synopsis

At a party in Cordelia Chase's beautiful new apartment, Wesley participates with unselfconscious enjoyment, but when Cordelia's friend asks Angel to dance, a mental flash of the wackiness that could ensue prevents him from saying yes. Angel mopes into retreat in the kitchen, where he finds he can converse comfortably with his silent friend, phantom Dennis, who offers him a cold beverage. Meanwhile, a man standing watch at an ice factory has just popped open and taken a sip from his own cold one, when he hears spooky voices crying from inside the coffin-sized crate he's guarding. Believing there is someone alive and suffering inside, he breaks open the box, then stands staring in shock at its contents.

In the office the next morning, Cordelia informs Angel that he wasn't any fun at the party and that Wes was "cooler." Oblivious, Wesley checks the office fridge for leftover canapés. Realizing his friend is short on cash, Angel offers Wesley a staff position at Angel Investigations, a move which Cordelia heartily approves—once Angel reassures her that hiring the formerly rogue demon hunter will not entail a cut in her own paycheck. However, Cordelia's enthusiasm turns to agony as she suddenly receives a graphic vision of a man being burned alive from the inside. With no sewer access to the Jericho Ice Factory, Wesley's first job is to drive Angel to the scene indicated by Cordelia's vision. Inside the facility, Angel finds the incinerated corpse as well as the crate he was guarding, now containing only ice. Hearing a noise from another section of the factory, Angel discovers the presence of a humanoid demon named Tae, who reveals that he is from another dimension, sent to bring back the vicious demon, a "vessel of pure rage," which has escaped from his realm into an unsuspecting L.A.

Angel begins his search for more information by breaking into Wilkers' office and pulling the ice factory files. Jimmying open the desk's top drawer, Angel finds an envelope containing an invoice for Jericho Ice (which he pockets) and a large amount of cash (which he doesn't). Apparently not realizing he is being observed, Angel is surprised by the sudden appearance of an exotic-looking female demon who, belying her small size, effortlessly knocks him out of the way with a powerful blow that scorches his arm. Receiving a call on her cell phone, the demon hardly spares Angel another glance before leaving in haste, pulling up the hood and wrapping her calf-length cardigan around her before she climbs into her vehicle. Recovering quickly enough to give chase, Angel calls Cordelia on a bad cell phone connection and describes the demon's appearance so she and Wesley can begin their research. Angel follows the attractive demon to an art gallery but she makes him and sets museum security after him. As cover, Angel removes his black coat and begins to lecture about one of the paintings to a group of people who stand rapt. After the security guards move past, Angel sees his quarry head toward the back of the building. Wrapping up his presentation to the appreciative applause of his unsuspecting audience, Angel follows.

In a storage room at the back of the gallery, the demon stands staring into space, then turns when Angel comes in behind her. Realizing he is a vampire (a human would have remained unconscious for hours from the force of her blow), she impatiently, imperiously, orders him to leave, but clearly has no attention to spare to forcibly eject him. At that moment, wind and lightening and thunder spring from nowhere, and there is a disturbance in the air near the room's back wall. A swirling portal forms, the shrieking coming from it seeming to draw rapidly closer. A naked humanoid girl drops out of the portal and hits the floor hard. As Angel pulls over a tarp to cover her, he gets a brief but clear glimpse of the girl's smooth forehead and of the raised ridges running along her upper spine. At that moment, Tae and his all-male team break into the room armed with daggers that look like mini-sickles. The female demon and Angel battle furiously, but Tae abducts the newly arrived girl and drives away with her. Looking helplessly after the speeding vehicle, Angel asks the female demon what will happen to the girl and learns that she will be "unmade." The male demons take the frightened girl to their base where, without further ado, they use a special clamping tool to cut out the raised ridges extending down from the girl's nape to between her shoulder blades. Gone breathless with fear, the girl screams in agony at the first cut.

Back at Angel's apartment, he brings his wary guest a bandage for the shallow cut on her arm while she drapes her cardigan over a railing and takes a look around. In response to her challenge that vampires are known killers, Angel tells her he was cursed, then evades her skeptical theory that he's been "cursed to help people," focusing the inquiry on her situation instead. The exotically beautiful demon accepts Angel's invitation to tell her story and introduces herself as Jheira, a princess from the Oden Tal dimension, dedicated to helping other female refugees escape her home world to the relative safety of L.A. Jheira tells Angel that for the women of Oden Tal, the personality is located in an area of the body called the "ko," the source of their desires and passions. At this, Jheira turns her back to Angel and shows him the raised ridges running for several inches along her spine. Angel, who found Jheira attractive at first sight, is now deeply aroused by her nearness and bends his head closer to her vulnerable neck. Resisting his own desires, he listens as Jheira tells him that the men of her dimension control the women by cutting out the ko, thus removing their "physical and sexual power," their volition. "We give up dreaming," she tells him bleakly. Feeling herself at the center of his intense predator's focus, Jheira begins to circle Angel as she explains that young women of Oden Tal must learn to control the raw power of their maturing ko, to which men of this world respond involuntarily. She tells him of her own struggle, with the help of the frozen water, to contain the "heat under her skin." Jheira proceeds to demonstrate her power to arouse them both, as well as her iron control of that power. Angel, fighting on several levels for self-control, moves a few steps away and asks pointedly about the incinerated corpse at the ice factory, and about the other four men crisped to death over the past year. Jheira grows defensive of her manifesto and starts to storm off, but Angel blocks her path. Her power flashes to the surface and they are almost irresistibly drawn to each other—a connection lethal to Angel—until Jheira damps the intensity of her radiant heat. Telling him again to stay out of her way, she escapes, leaving him wrung out, barely able to stand.

While Angel and Jheira fight Tae's team at the gallery, Wesley continues his research and discovers that the men of this demon species are called the Vigories of Oden Tal. Reading from an ancient volume, he tells Cordelia that the Vigories are said to be fierce warriors, and "the women live enslaved to them." Also learning that the Vigories are herbivores and must eat half their weight in partially rotted vegetation each day, Cordelia and Wesley leave the office to go looking for compost. They find Tae's team headquartered in a large plant nursery and overhear a briefing about their plans to capture Princess Jheira, cut her and take her back to Oden Tal to signal the end of all rebellion. Jheira, meanwhile, returns to the sanctuary she has created at the Palm Ridge Spa, where the other young women are being kept, rendered safe by lying in whirlpool tubs filled with ice. Jheira informs the spa's proprietor, Mars, that this sanctuary has been compromised and the girls must be moved to another, safer location. However, unaware that Tae is right on her tail, Jheira tells Mars they will leave the following day. In the meantime, unable to raise their boss by cell phone, Cordelia and Wesley barely escape detection at the Vigories' base and return to Angel's apartment both to locate him and seek his help. They find him, apparently unharmed and unconcerned, just emerging from the shower. Upon hearing their report that Tae's group plans an assault on an undisclosed location that recently started receiving large shipments of ice, Angel remembers the address listed on the invoice he lifted from Wilkers' office. Grimly determined to get there first, Angel gathers his team and heads to the Palm Ridge Spa.

Arriving at the spa, Angel leaves Cordelia and Wesley (who falls down getting out of the car) to act as lookouts. Angel brushes past Mars and, finding Jheira with the still-somnolent girls, tells her that Tae is closer behind than she thinks. At that moment, Cordelia frantically rushes in to report Tae's approach. While Cordelia and Wesley are still rousing the girls and trying to get them moving toward the back exit, Tae and his team burst in. Cordy and Wes continue with the evacuation, while Jheira and Angel engage Tae and his men in battle. The two demons manage to hold their own until Wesley and Cordelia, returning to the fight after securing the girls, are suddenly taken hostage. When presented with Tae's ultimatum to hand over the refugees or see the humans die, Jheira, hardly hesitating, says, "Then they die." As she wheels for the exit, Cordelia and Wesley seize the initiative and break away from their captors, who seem momentarily stunned at the failure of their ploy. Outside, Jheira makes her way towards the cab of the truck loaded with crates of ice-packed refugee girls. She is just steps away from freedom when two of the Vigories grab her from behind and restrain her for Tae, making sure that her ko is exposed. Jheira's nemesis holds up the cutting tool and prepares to mutilate the Princess of Oden Tal to bring her under immediate control. Appearing out of nowhere, Angel grabs Tae in a headlock and, giving him couple of demonstrative squeezes, threatens to snap their leader's neck unless the Vigories holding Jheira release her. As soon as they do, Angel tells Jheira to get the girls to safety. Giving Angel a slight nod, she climbs into the cab of the truck and drives away. As soon as Jheira is out of sight, Angel releases Tae and tells him to go back to Oden Tal, morphing into vamp face to let the Vigories know he can make good on his promise of mayhem if they continue their war in this dimension.

The next day, Angel arrives in the office first and squeezes a bag of whole coffee beans to test Cordelia's theory that he can effectively grind the coffee with his "vampire strength." The bag bursts, scattering coffee beans everywhere, just as Cordelia and Wesley come in the front door. Wesley immediately slips and falls, then starts to sweep the beans up with his bare hands, apologizing distractedly for making a mess. In what appears to be a natural segue for him, Wesley also apologizes, as he carefully regains his feet, for being taken hostage by Tae's men. Angel tries to reassure his friend and compliments him on a job well done, which prompts Wesley, in turn, to express his sincere regard for Angel. Cordelia is just teasing Wesley for turning groveling into an art, when Jheira walks in. Cordelia opens verbal fire on the warrior demon, asking if they can offer her anything, such as a couple of hostages to kill. Angel firmly shows Jheira into his office and closes the door. After ascertaining that the other women are safe, away from the city, Angel again tells Jheira that he'll stop her if she crosses the line and endangers people of his world while trying to protect people from hers. The sexual and political tension thick between them, Jheira looks at Angel, then agrees with his terms. She hesitates, clearly torn, clearly having found a "desirable mate," and Angel grows even more breathless. With the harsh discipline of an abnegation as rigid and as necessary as Angel's, Jheira turns toward the door, away from the object of her desire. As she walks away from him, Angel sees what he has already inescapably sensed—Jheira's ko glows red hot. Raging desire at war with self-preservation, Angel stands desperately immobile until She is out of range.

Continuity

  • The scene in which an internet search on the various bodies found burned indicates that the episode takes place close to, or after, December 1999.
  • Jhiera returns to Los Angeles three years later in the Buffy/Angel crossover novel Heat.
  • Angel complains about his cell phone. Cordelia had one in the first episode of Buffy but this is their next appearance in the Slayverse since and it will be another 3 years before the Sunnydale Scoobys each have one.
  • When Angel and Cordelia are discussing parties being Angel's idea of hell, Angel comments "in hell you tend to know a lot of the people." This is a reference to the 100 years Angel spent in a hell dimension following his battle with Buffy in Becoming, Part Two.

Body Count

  • Peter Wilkers, burned to death by a female Vigorie Demon
  • Mars, killed by a male Vigorie Demon

Total:

  • 2 Humans

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • Writer Tim Minear had originally put the dance David Boreanaz performs in his imagination into "Sense & Sensitivity" but removed it on Joss Whedon's request; "Plus," Minear says, "we wanted to save it until it was just right. Here's this guy who looks like this, and he's a complete social retard. I think we've had a lot of success playing that aspect of the character."
  • The end credits feature additional footage of Wesley and Angel's dancing skills.
  • Bai Ling, who played Jhiera, said of her character "[she's] so cool. She seduced Angel, and yet she's very dangerous and independent. She's got all those things that a modern woman wants, yet she's a princess. She has her own duty to do good things for the people in her land. She's got all this complexity and beauty." She also said that the character was considered for a return "after that episode aired, David called me. They were so pleased by it, they wanted me to come back. I'd very much like to go back to Angel, because we all had a great time, and they loved the character. I don't know what the schedule is; I guess they're still working on it, so we're gonna talk about it when it is ready. I'm looking forward to contributing something."

Pop Culture References

  • Carrie: Cordelia asks whether the attractive "hottie" demon "Carries" Angel when they first meet. Carrie's main power is telekenesis, which Jheira also exhibits when threatened.
  • Édouard Manet: Going under cover as a museum guide, Angel gives a professional exegesis on one of this French painter's most famous works, which he refers to as "La Musique".
  • Charles Baudelaire: Angel implies that Angelus is the eponymous demon of "Le Vampire", published by this French poet in Les Fleurs du mal in 1857.
  • Neiman Marcus: Cordelia's wish fulfillment dreams feature high-end department stores having going-out-of-business sales.
  • Nancy Mitford: On the hunt for "the world's biggest compost heap" at the plant nursery with Cordelia, Wesley is distracted by a flower he calls Nancy's Petticoat.

International titles

  • German:  Die Frauen des Oden Tals (The women of Oden Tal) 

Music

Other

  • Jheira's mission is an allusion to ending Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) because women in some societies undergo the procedure to make them marriageable. Women on and off screen are having the source of sexual arousal removed to 'control' their behavior and ultimately them. When they first meet, Jheira is skeptical that Angel will understand or even care about her mission because he is a man. The source of his sexual pleasure is not being removed by his culture.

Quotes

Cordelia - I was so glad you came. You know how parties are? You're always worried that no one's gonna suck the energy out of the room like a giant black hole of boring despair. But, there you were in the clinch!
Wesley - Perhaps we need a plan.
Angel - Here's the plan. We go in, I start hittin' people hard in the face. See where it takes us.
Cordelia - Wow. Groveling isn't just a way of life for you, it's an art.

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