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The Magic Bullet

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Angel
Season 4, Episode 19
Bullet Fred
Air date April 16, 2003
Written by Jeffrey Bell
Directed by Jeffrey Bell
Episode Guide
previous
"Shiny Happy People"
next
"Sacrifice"
Cast
Starring
David Boreanaz Angel
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
J. August Richards Gunn
Amy Acker Fred
Vincent Kartheiser Connor
Andy Hallett Lorne
Alexis Denisof Wesley
Guest Starring
Gina Torres Jasmine
Danny Woodburn Demon
Patrick Fischler Ted
Co Starring
Terrylene Deaf Woman
Mia Kelly Woman
Andre Hotchko Man in Lobby
Ajgie Kirkland Black Man
Michael McElroy Young Boy
Chad Williams Rock Dude
Phyllis Flax Very Old Woman
Amy Raymond Weeping Woman
Steve Forbess Mexican Man
Uncredited
Jack Gill Man In Car
Abigail Margulis Lovely Follower
Brian Renner Pedestrian
Thom Williams Possessed Man
Zakk Wylde Himself

"The Magic Bullet" is the nineteenth episode of the fourth season of Angel and the eighty-fifth episode overall. Written and directed by Jeffrey Bell, it was originally broadcast on April 16, 2003 on the WB network.

While Jasmine settles in at the hotel with her followers for a mysterious gathering, Fred is forced to flee from Los Angeles while the rest of the gang hunt her down, with assistance from most of the populace, who are also under Jasmine's enchantment. After unsuccessfully seeking help in an occult bookstore, and later in a cave which is inhabited by a hand-munching demon, Fred learns that Jasmine's blood is the key to seeing her for what she really is and plots to get Angel and the gang back into the fold with her.

Synopsis

Thanks to the events of "Shiny Happy People," everyone in L.A. is happy and cheerful. The first scene opens with the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice?" playing behind a montage of harmonious street scenes of pedestrians and drivers in the city, until Fred runs into a car at an intersection. She's pursued by Wesley and Gunn, but Fred eludes them by hiding out in a sewer under a shopping center.

Back at the Hyperion, Lorne has to turn away people who have come to the hotel to see Jasmine. She makes time to talk to many of them, and Angel asks how Jasmine always knows exactly what to say to people. She tells him that she looks into their hearts, though sometimes what they need is right on their faces. She tells a man in Spanish that his mustache "provides [him] great strength and dignity." Wesley and Gunn return with the news that Fred escaped. Connor wants to kill her and bring her back, but Wesley reminds him that Jasmine wants her alive. Jasmine invites a couple of people to go upstairs with her, while Wesley and Gunn admit to wishing she would pick them.

Fred goes to the Magic Bullet Bookstore, which she apparently visited three days earlier to read up on mass hypnosis. Now she's looking for information on mind control. The shopkeeper mentions that business has been slow. Fred commiserates with him. He says that he used to be obsessed with mind control, and though he still believes in it, he just doesn't worry about it anymore. The shopkeeper pulls out a gun—then a yo-yo and a book called Making Mind Control Work for You--and says that he thinks Fred is trying to get the government to learn about Jasmine's love.

Connor and Angel try to track Fred through the sewers; Angel learns that Connor has been tracking people since he was a kid. Holtz would tie him to a tree and then run away, expecting Connor to free himself and find Holtz. Angel is shocked that Holtz abandoned Connor like that, but Connor considers it good, since he learned to track. Angel and Connor both suddenly close their eyes, receiving a message that Jasmine wants them back at the Hyperion.

Back at the hotel, Wesley, Gunn, and Lorne are helping Jasmine build her media empire. Conner and Angel arrive, confused as to how they were able to receive a message. Jasmine explains that everyone is connected by love, and she wants to test that connection to see if they can find Fred. Everyone holds hands as Jasmine tells them to picture Fred and concentrate on finding her...

Fred checks into a motel, where people around her start looking at her. Fred takes off running, passing a man who is fueling his car. Another car hits his car, which sets off a fire. The guy from the car gets out and, in flames, walks to Fred, calls her by name, and tells her not to be afraid...

Jasmine's hand starts smoking. She explains that she saw Fred, and all of the Jasmaniacs now know who Fred is and what she looks like; Fred has nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. In the meantime, the Angel Investigations team takes charge of meeting the needs of various pilgrims in the hotel, meeting Jasmine's demands though a sort of psychic network that connects everyone under her spell.

Somewhere far away, Fred walks by the side of a highway. When thinks she's spotted by a passing SUV, she steps off the road and falls down a hill. She finds herself in a cave where a short demon is also holed up. The creature assures Fred that he won't hurt her; it doesn't seem to matter, since Fred makes sure he knows that she can handle herself. She tries to collect herself.

Back at the Hyperion, Wesley is giving a presentation to the assembled crowd about an insidious evil among them: Fred. He passes the podium to Lorne, who gives the "hourly Jasmine report." He then announces a new surprise - open mic night, an opportunity for everyone to pay their respects to Jasmine. A montage follows of various odes to Jasmine, including Lorne singing "Freddie's Dead" and Angel and Connor singing a revised version of "Mandy".

The demon in the cave reveals that he's hiding out because of "those freakin' Jasminites and their demon jihad." The two find common ground as fugitives, but then he gets hungry and attacks Fred, who is injured but fights back with an axe, killing him.

Fred returns to the Magic Bullet Bookstore, luring a crowd of people outside. The shopkeeper tells Fred that she's famous now, and that he's not supposed to hurt her. Jasmine arrives with Angel and Connor and, in exchange for the shopkeeper's help, tells him that Lee Harvey Oswald worked alone in assassinating JFK.

Jasmine turns to Fred, who says that she's sorry, and Jasmine accepts the apology, but it turns out that Fred is talking to Angel. She raises the shopkeeper's handgun, aims at Jasmine, and fires. The bullet goes through Jasmine and then into Angel's shoulder. Angel vamps out and attacks Fred, grabbing the gun and pointing it at her jaw. Crying, Fred tells him to look at Jasmine. He does, seeing the same decaying, maggot-infested flesh that Fred saw earlier and is released from her spell, being left in a state of shock.

Jasmine realizes that it was her blood that released Fred and Angel and tells Connor that Angel is infected. Fred shoots Jasmine repeatedly, and an enraged Connor attacks her, knocking her out. Angel fights Conner off, then makes a run for it with an unconscious Fred in his arms. Conner wants to follow, but Jasmine tells him she needs his help. Looking around at much blood she's lost and tells the shopkeeper to burn the store down.

Back in the hotel, Jasmine returns to find the pilgrims sharing a potluck. She goes into the office, and Wesley, Gunn, and Lorne follow her. Jasmine explains that they've lost Angel to Fred, and proclaims that they cannot be helped. Jasmine declares that, in order to prevent further "hatred," Fred and Angel must be killed on sight. She takes Conner with her as she leaves.

Elsewhere, Fred awakens to Angel in a darkened alleyway. Angel is depressed, admitting to Fred that he misses the way Jasmine made him feel even if it was only a lie. Fred tells him that she feels the same, and that she still cries despite it being over a week by now. She explains that that Jasmine's blood breaks the spell - she got it in her system when she washed Jasmine's shirt, and Angel got it after the bullet passed through Jasmine. Angel assures her that despite how awful they feel, she did the right thing. At this, Fred breaks down in tears, admitting that she's scared and claiming that she isn't a champion like Angel, but Angel comforts her and insists otherwise.

Fred decides that they need to get more of Jasmine's blood so that they can break the spell for the others. Angel points out that they'll never be able to get close to Jasmine now, but then he has another idea. Before he can explain, they hear people coming, and Fred kisses Angel to throw the people off. Unfortunately, it doesn't work, and the two are forced to run.

Upstairs, Jasmine asks Conner to guard the door after she takes several people into her room. She asks them to remove their clothes, then examines her wound in a mirror, magically healing herself...

Angel and Fred sneak into Cordelia's room, finding she's still comatose. Angel apologizes to Cordelia, then starts to cut her arm with a knife. She grabs his wrist and he panics, thinking that she's awake. Fred has to tell him that people in comas sometimes move or do things that don't mean they're waking up. They are able to get a small amount of blood, but Lorne comes in and finds them. Angel puts a hand over his mouth, and "infects" him with Cordelia's blood, breaking the spell.

Upstairs, Jasmine comes from out of her room, accompanied by a bright green light. Conner asks what happened to the three people who went into the room, and Jasmine replies, "I ate them." Conner is awestruck and impressed.

Lorne lures Wesley and Gunn upstairs, grabs a baseball bat, and knocks them out so that Fred can administer the cure. When they come to, Angel explains that Cordelia's blood worked because Jasmine used her to gain a physical body, so they share a blood link. Wesley brings Connor in, and the others hold him down for the cure. After Connor calms down, Angel tells him they had to make him see the truth. "You understand why we're here?" Angel asks. Connor nods, but then throws open the door and shouts to the rest of the Jasmaniacs, alerting them to the gang's presence.

Continuity

  • The scene between Fred and Angel, wherein the former apologizes to the latter, indicates that it has been at least a week since "Shiny Happy People"
  • Jasmine's blood doesn't seem to affect Angel until he actually looks at Jasmine, but Angel and Fred are able to disillusion Lorne, Wesley and Gunn without Jasmine even being in the same room.
    • Lorne, Wesley and Gunn were exposed to Cordelia's blood, which could have a stronger, or more immediate effect on breaking Jasmine's spell. This is later implied further, when Jasmine herself implies she cannot harm Cordelia without harming herself, a fact that Team Angel later discover themselves.
  • Fred suggests that, even with the spell having been broken, the effects continue to be felt a week later, when she mentions that she still cries over her "loss".

Body Count

  • unidentified humans, killed and demembred by a demon (only mentioned)
  • unidentified man, burned with his car
  • Belley twin sisters, eaten by Jasmine (only mentioned)
  • unnamed demon, killed by Fred
  • Ted, burned in his own library under Jasmine's orders
  • two men and a woman, eaten by Jasmine

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • The guitarist backing up Angel and Connor's performance of "Jasmine" (to the tune of Barry Manilow's "Mandy") was Ozzy Osbourne lead guitarist and Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wylde. According to the DVD commentary by episode director Jeffrey Bell, Wylde and his entourage were so enthusiastically and persistently foul-mouthed that Bell felt compelled to remove all the children from the set while they were shooting the scene.
  • During the DVD commentary, writer/director Jeffrey Bell said that one of the deciding factors of choosing Patrick Fischler for the role of Ted was that Fischler knew how to say "MK-ULTRA" correctly. "M" and "K" are pronounced as individual letters, not as "Mc".
  • During the DVD commentary, writer/director Jeffrey Bell explained that Jasmine telling Ted that Oswald acted alone was a sort of punishment for the character. He was of the opinion that one of the most devastating things for a conspiracy-theorist is to find out there is no conspiracy.

Pop Culture References

  • The episode title, "The Magic Bullet," has multiple meanings:
    • It refers to the bullet that Fred uses to expose Angel to Jasmine's blood
    • It refers to the "Magic Bullet" theory of President John F. Kennedy's assassination introduced by the Warren Commission to explain how a single bullet caused seven wounds during the assassination. As part of that theory, the "magic bullet" passed through JFK's body and then traveled through John Connelly's body as well. Jasmine references the assassination when she tells Ted that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
    • "The Magic Bullet" is the name of the shop Fred goes to, since the shopkeeper is obsessed with conspiracy theories and the JFK assassination
    • Additionally, a "magic bullet" is a concept by Dr. Paul Ehrlich for a treatment that cures specific diseases without harming the host. Similarly, Fred looks for a way to break people of Jasmine's control (disease), without harming them (host). In this case, the magic bullet ends up being a literal bullet infected with Jasmine's blood.
    • It refers to Jasmine's mind control, which she saw as the solution to human misery.
  • Ted, in the Magic Bullet bookshop mentions Art Bell, host of a paranormal-themed radio program.

Music

International titles

  • German: Die magische Kugel (The Magic Bullet)

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • After Fred shot Jasmine, Jasmine was afraid that if Connor touched her blood, her thrall over him might break. It's later established that Connor was never under her thrall; and when he told the group he'd known the truth all along, she acted as if she knew that he knew.

Quotes

Fred - "So, you don't worry that it's possible for someone to send out a biological or electronic trigger that effectively overrides your own sense of ideals and values, and replaces them with an alternative coercive agenda that reduces you to little more than a mindless meat puppet?"
Shopkeeper - "Wow. People used to think that I was paranoid. I mean, don't get me wrong. I still got the implants in my head. CIA is still listening in. It just doesn't bother me anymore."
Lorne - "I thought Our Lady of the Perpetual Sea Breeze was the real deal until the Divine Miss J walked right through that door and right into my ass - which is where my heart is ... physiologically."
Lorne - "You know what they say about people who need people."
Connor - "They're the luckiest people in the world."
Lorne - "You been sneaking peeks at my Streisand collection again, kiddo?"
Connor - "Just kinda popped out."
Lorne - "Tonight, the role of Judas Iscariot will be played by Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan."

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