A Hole in the World
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|"A Hole in the World"|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Joss Whedon|
|Written by||Joss Whedon|
|Original air date||February 25, 2004|
|List of Angel episodes|
"A Hole in the World" is episode 15 of season 5 in the television show Angel. Written and directed by series creator Joss Whedon, it was originally broadcast on February 25, 2004 on the WB television network. In this episode, Fred is infected by the spirit of Illyria, an ancient demon who existed before recorded time. The entire crew searches for a cure, but give up hope when Spike and Angel discover that the only way to save Fred's life would kill thousands of people. Wesley comforts Fred as she dies and witnesses the emergence of Illyria.
Flashback to Texas, as Fred's parents are helping her pack for her move to Los Angeles. As she packs her stuffed bunny Feigenbaum, Fred promises her worried parents that she will live a boring life. In the present day, at Wolfram & Hart's science lab, Knox accepts the delivery of a sarcophagus. When Fred touches one of the crystals that cover the lid, a puff of dusty air is released, making her cough. Later, when she meets Wesley downstairs, they get lovey-dovey until Lorne tells them to "get a balcony." Lorne starts singing "You Are My Sunshine" to Fred, who picks up the song. Lorne immediately realizes that something is wrong. Fred suddenly coughs up blood and collapses. Lorne catches her and she starts convulsing as Wesley yells for medical assistance.
When Fred regains consciousness in the medical wing, her friends assure her that she'll be okay, even though they don't know what's wrong with her. "Handsome man saves me," Fred says to Angel, bringing up an oft-repeated line from "Through the Looking Glass". Everyone leaves and Wesley comforts Fred. Angel and Spike are waiting at the door, where Angel is surprised to see that Fred and Wesley are dating, something that everyone else apparently already knew. The group rushes to the lobby, where Angel admits some sort of parasite is slowly killing Fred. The gang wonder if the Senior Partners sent the sarcophagus; Gunn says he'll go to the White Room and see if he can talk to the conduit. Meanwhile, as he looks through one of his source books, an anonymous staff member comes to Wesley for an unrelated report. Wesley tells the man it can wait and when the man protests that the entire firm can't be working on Fred's case, Wesley calmly gets a gun out of his drawer and shoots the man directly in the kneecap. As the man screams in agony, Wesley tells his secretary to send anyone else who isn't working on Fred's case straight to him. Gunn goes to the White Room and tries to summon the panther, who doesn't appear. He gets socked in the face and turns to see that he's being hit by himself (or at least the conduit in the form of Gunn). The conduit tells him that he's failing and the Senior Partners are tired of his "insolence." Gunn wants to make a deal and give his life for Fred's. The conduit tells him that he already has Gunn's life.
Angel, Spike, and Lorne go to Lindsey's apartment, where they encounter Eve. She claims not to know anything about what's happening to Fred and says that she hasn't heard from Lindsey. Frustrated by her lack of concern for Fred, Lorne punches her and demands that she sing for him so he can make sure she's not involved in what's happening, and swears that if he hears even one quarter-note that hints that she was involved, he would kill her himself before Angel and Spike could do so. Eve sings a little of "L.A. Song" and Lorne determines that she's not involved, though "her future's not too bright." As the guys leave, Eve asks if they're going to tell the Senior Partners where she is. She says that there's no info on the sarcophagus in the firm's records, and the only thing not in the firm's records is the most ancient demons, the Old Ones. She says that Wesley's source books can bring forth any text and he needs to look through the oldest scrolls for information on the Deeper Well. In Wesley's office, he tells the group that the demon in question is called Illyria, "a great monarch and warrior of the demon age... left adrift in the Deeper Well," which is the burial ground for all the remaining old ones. Fred's skin is "hardening like a shell"; she is being hollowed out so that Illyria can use her to return to the world. The Deeper Well is in the Cotswolds in England, and Angel and Spike prepares to go speak with its guardian. In the plane, Angel and Spike make small talk, and discuss going to a West End show. Angel then tells Spike he can't lose Fred. Spike tells him they won't.
Wesley heads to the medical wing and is surprised that Fred isn't there. She's in the science lab, stumbling around and trying to work on her own case, since she doesn't want to have to be rescued - but she relents and asks Wesley to take her home. In her apartment, Fred asks for Feigenbaum, but cries when she can't remember who he is. Wesley reads A Little Princess from his magical book to comfort her, as she flinches from the light coming from the window. Angel and Spike arrive in the Cotswolds, where they are ambushed by a bunch of armored demons. Angel asks Spike to hold his hand. After an awkward moment, Spike grabs his hand. Spike realizes it is a stunt they once pulled in Saint Petersburg, holding out a piece of wire and decapitating the demons. Spike and Angel finish off the demons and are met by Drogyn, the keeper of the Deeper Well, whom Angel knows. As they head into the Deeper Well, Angel explains to Spike that Drogyn hates being asked questions because he cannot lie.
Knox suggests to Gunn that they freeze Fred in the cryogenics lab until they figure out how to stop what's killing her, but his tests don't work. Upset at his failure, he tells Gunn, "I don't just care about Fred, I practically worship it." Gunn catches his slip of the tongue and accuses Knox of causing what's happening to Fred. Knox admits he is one of Illyria's acolytes. "I chose Fred because I love her, because she's worthy," he says. "You think I'd have my god hatched out of some schmuck?" He tells Gunn that everything was set in motion millions of years ago and it can't be stopped; Angel won't save Fred. "I don't mean that Angel's gonna fail to save her, I mean he's gonna let her die." Knox tells Gunn he helped the sarcophagus get there - he unknowingly signed for it. Gunn knocks him out.
Drogyn leads Angel and Spike into the Deeper Well, explaining that Illyria's sarcophagus disappeared a month before - as it was predestined to do - but the demon's essence can be drawn back by a champion. However, as they bring the sarcophagus back to the Well, Illyria will leave Fred and enter and kill every person between L.A. and the Deeper Well. Angel realizes that he can't allow that many people to die, even to save Fred. Spike looks through the Deeper Well, which goes all the way through the center of the Earth, and says, "There's a hole in the world. Feels like we ought to have known." In her apartment, Fred asks Wesley if he would have loved her; he tells her that he's always loved her, even before he knew her. She asks him to tell her parents that she wasn't scared. As she weakens, she says, "Please, Wesley, why can't I stay?" and then dies in Wesley's arms. As he begins to weep, her eyes turn blue. Fred's body twitches and sends Wesley across the room, where he watches her skin and hair turn blue. She stands up - now taken over by Illyria - and says, "This will do."
Sarah Thompson sings "LA Song", which was written by series co-creator David Greenwalt and Christian Kane for Lindsey McDonald to perform on-stage in the Angel episode "Dead End". Thompson, who grew up doing musical theater, had begged Joss Whedon to allow her character to sing.
Joss Whedon admits he became emotional during the scene in which Fred dies: "I cried man tears when I wrote it, and when I filmed it and when I edited it...it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever filmed." Amy Acker agrees, saying, "We kept crying while we were just reading the script; saying, 'We're not going to have any tears left!' Of course that didn't really hold true..." The final death scene was challenging for Alexis Denisof as well, who says, "There's a sort of tightening that happens with each scene where you feel it just getting worse and worse and I remember when we were shooting it that that was what kept choking me up. The situation of losing Fred was becoming more and more real and closer."
The scene where Gunn is fighting himself in the White Room was done by filming J. August Richards twice in two shots, as he switched between good and evil Gunn. Richards says of the experience, "It was one of the most fun things I've ever done on the show."
"I thought it'd be really funny to kill Amy," Joss Whedon explains. He and the other writers decided to kill the character of Fred so that Amy Acker could "play somebody new, somebody who's regal and scary and different than anything she's gotten to do on the show. The best way to do that of course is to kill her and have her become somebody else." The character Drogyn - who is established as someone who cannot lie - was introduced so that when he says Fred cannot be saved, the audience believes it, explains Whedon.
Reception and reviews
- Grimshaw, Sue, Return of the Spirit Boy: an Exclusive Spotlight on Christian Kane
- O'Hare, Kate (December 31, 2003). "'Angel's' Sarah Thompson Just Wants to Sing". Retrieved 2007-12-20.[dead link]
- Bratton, Kristy, ANGEL Season Five DVD Collection REVIEW, retrieved 2007-10-24
- Stafford, Nikki (2004), Once Bitten: An Unofficial Guide to the World of Angel, ECW Press, pp. 93–94, ISBN 1-55022-654-1
- Top Angel episodes, BBC, 18 January 2005, retrieved 2007-10-16
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