Rm w/a Vu
|"Rm w/a Vu"|
Cordelia is not alone in her new apartment.
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Scott McGinnis|
|Teleplay by||Jane Espenson|
|Story by||Jane Espenson
|Original air date||November 2, 1999|
|List of Angel episodes|
"Rm w/a Vu" (Room with a View) is episode 5 of season 1 in the television show Angel. The episode was written by Jane Espenson, with a story from Espenson and David Greenwalt, and directed by Scott McGinnis, it was originally broadcast on November 2, 1999 on the WB network. In Rm w/a Vu, Doyle dodges a demon loan shark, and Cordelia is enchanted with her beautiful rent-controlled apartment even though it turns out to be haunted. Unable to dent Cordelia's determination to live there, the team attempts an exorcism, angering the ghost of the original tenant, who suffered a fatal heart attack immediately after bricking her grown son behind a wall.
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. 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. 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. However, when he reaches the building's foyer, 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, affordable 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 having him killed. 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. She wakes with a start when a drawer bangs shut, and soon discovers why this apartment was so reasonably priced—it's 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 redly 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."
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 a bitch, and she begins to fight back. As Angel snaps Griff's neck, Cordelia exits the bedroom and under the control of another entity, wields a cast iron lamp like a sledgehammer to knock down the partition, revealing a skeleton mouldering behind the wall and the presence of a second ghost. In a mystical flashback, the team learns that Maude Pearson prevented Dennis from leaving with his fiancée by bricking him alive into this wall. Upon completion, Maude suffered a heart attack and died. Now Maude's spirit stands in Doyle's binding circle and pleades with the monstrous manifestation of her murdered son that has pulled itself free of the skeleton. She 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.
- Marcus Redmond, who plays the bounty hunter demon Griff in this episode, appears again as the gladiator demon Cribb in "The Ring".
The episode is "really all about Cordelia regaining her inner bitch," says supervising producer Tim Minear. He points out that 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."
- 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 roomy repeatedly about dangerous intruders ("Five by Five").
- 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.
- Following up on Doyle's intimation in "City of" that his past contains things he's not proud of, something he needs "to atone for," Angel makes it clear that, new digs for Cordy aside, his real price for helping is Doyle's candor. For his part, Doyle finally understands that Angel's role as champion for the Powers includes himself as one of the people whose lives Angel must become involved in. Quietly, Doyle promises to tell Angel "his story," and keeps that promise in "Bachelor Party" and in "Hero", revealing and expunging his past cowardice in a few short weeks.
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".
Despite Angel commenting that Cordelia's friends were called the "Cordettes", that term was never used in canonical Buffy (although it does feature in scripts and credits).
Doyle comments on Cordelia's high school diploma asking her why it's partially burned. Cordelia responds by saying, "Yeah, it was a rough ceremony". A reference to the graduating class' battle with Mayor Wilkins in Graduation Day (Part 2).
When the ghost of Mrs. Pearson pushes Cordy too far by calling her a bitch, she stops crying and says "I'm no sniffling whining little cry Buffy, I'm the nastiest girl in Sunnydale history." Which is referring to her days as a major snob in high school in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer show.
- MasterCard: 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 film, Ghost, in which Swayze plays the eponymous spectre, Sam Wheat, who has unfinished business with his beloved wife.
- Steve Paymer: More commonly referred to as "David Paymer's brother."
- Classified advertising: Rm w/a Vu is a common abbreviation in newspaper classified ads, standing for "room with a view."
- Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace: Cordelia's roommate's name, Phantom Dennis, is a play on the Star Wars Episode I film title.
Reception and reviews
Charisma Carpenter lists this episode as one of her personal favorites. The 11th Hour praised this episode, saying Jane Espenson wrote "an obvious masterpiece" by giving the character of Doyle an active role in the plot and playing up Angel's "constant exasperation with Cordelia's occupation" for comic relief.
- Espenson, Jane, "Rm w/a Vu" (Commentary with Jane Espenson), Angel: Season One on DVD, Twentieth Century Fox, 2002.
- Gross, Edward (August 14, 2000), ANGEL: Season One, Episode By Episode with Tim Minear, retrieved 2007-09-25
- "Interview with Charisma Carpenter: Best loved episodes", BBC, retrieved 2007-09-25
- Kohles, Lisa, "Rm w/a Vu Review", The 11th Hour, retrieved 2007-09-26
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