|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Tim Minear|
|Written by||Tim Minear|
|Original air date||May 7, 2003|
"Home" is episode 22 of season 4 in the television show Angel. Written and directed by Tim Minear, it was originally broadcast on May 7, 2003 on the WB network. In the Season Four finale, Connor – having defeated Jasmine in the previous episode – plans to blow himself up with a comatose Cordelia and other hostages, while an undead Lilah Morgan offers Angel Investigations control of the Wolfram & Hart L.A. branch.
While Wesley doubts that the Lilah before them is real, Angel (with his preternatural vampire senses) confirms that it's really her. Lilah also shows her beheading scar as she explains that the "Senior Partners", the ruling counsel of the demonic firm who are based in Hell, are offering them control as thanks for bringing back chaos and discord in Los Angeles in "Peace Out", which the group intended for the greater good. On the streets, while people raid stores, Connor spots a cop on top of a building, and catches him before he shoots himself with his own gun. The confused cop reveals that he has a family that are his "home." Enraged by the thought that the man would leave his family, Connor attacks the cop.
Wesley confides his doubts to Gunn, worrying his remaining feelings for Lilah cloud his perspective. Lorne returns without news on Connor or Cordy, but with the news that mayhem has been released on the streets in the aftermath. Angel warns the others against going to Wolfram & Hart, but as dawn approaches, the group finds themselves drawn to the offer of touring the Wolfram & Hart offices. One by one, they sneak off and get into the limo, surprised to see the others there.
At the office, the group is approached by guides for their individual tours. Lorne is introduced to the manager of the entertainment department, who gives Lorne a glimpse of the talent managed by the firm. Wesley's guide, former Watcher Rutherford Sirk, impresses him with a vast collection of mystical references. Fred's guide is Knox, a smart young man who shows off the science department which she would run. Lilah shows Angel his new office, private elevator, and special windows that allow him to be in the sun without burning. She presents him with a file labeled "Sunnydale" and an amulet that Buffy needs for a battle, but he still acts uninterested. But when Lilah shows him a TV news report about Connor holding several people hostage, including the comatose Cordelia, in a sporting-goods store, Angel is finally ready to make a deal. Gunn is met by an attractive woman, and after mentioning he doesn't see how he would fit in at Wolfram & Hart, she takes him on a long elevator ride to the White Room. Alone in the room, Gunn is greeted by a black panther.
Connor shouts at one of his captives, who struggles to hold his crying daughter because of a broken arm, then notices Angel has arrived. Meanwhile, Wesley knocks Sirk unconscious and makes his way to the records room, where Lilah finds him searching through the files. Wesley finds her contract with the law firm and burns it in an effort to free her, but the contract just reappears in the drawer. She says she already knew the price when she signed the contract but still appreciates the gesture.
Angel cautiously approaches Connor as the teen warns the hostages are rigged with explosives. As Connor rises - revealing he and a still unconscious Cordelia are rigged similarly - he rages that he can't seem to feel anything and doesn't feel loved. Angel tries to promise a better future, but Connor, unconvinced, starts to push the denotation trigger. Angel punches him, yanks the trigger from the explosives around Connor, release the hostages, and throws a knife into Connor's leg before he can injure Cordy. Promising to prove his love, Angel brings the knife down in a deadly blow, fulfilling the prophecy.
Gunn joins the group in the lobby, proclaiming he is taking the job whether the others do or not. Wesley reveals that he's considering taking the job as well and then Angel says he already took the deal for them. Lilah confirms that Cordelia is getting the best of care and if a return is possible from her coma, they'll find the way. Completing their deal, Angel asks to see Connor and although Lilah argues that wasn't part of the deal, she agrees to let it happen. Lilah hands over the folder on Sunnydale and the amulet and Angel leaves to see Connor, while Fred wonders aloud, "Who's Connor?". A limo takes Angel to a cabin in the woods where he spies through the window. Connor sits with his new family as they enjoy dinner and laugh about the promising college life before him. Angel walks away, pleased that his son has a new life filled with the love and happiness he lacked.
The scenes in the Wolfram & Hart offices were shot on location in the Thousand Oaks business complex. "They were kind enough to let us come in on a working day," Tim Minear explains, and worked while the crew was filming.
The "White Room" scene was accomplished via greenscreen and split screen. The endless room in the background was computer generated, with an actual leopard on the same stage as J. August Richards. While filming, the big cat "kind of got out of its chain," says Minear. "J. thankfully didn't tell me until the shot was done and they had it back in its chain because I would have run screaming from the room like a girl."
This episode marks Charisma Carpenter and Vincent Kartheiser's last appearances as regular cast members in the credits, and Stephanie Romanov's last appearance in the series.
Actor Jonathan M. Woodward, who plays Knox, also appeared in two other Mutant Enemy-produced television shows. He was the vampire psychology student Holden Webster in the Buffy episode "Conversations with Dead People" (November, 2002), as well as Private Tracey in the Firefly episode "The Message" (July, 2003).
Tim Minear returned to Angel for this episode, after having not written for Angel since "Benediction" due to being busy with Firefly. He both wrote and directed the episode, which he says acted like a pilot in order to demonstrate to both the network and the television audience that the show could move in a new and interesting direction. Minear says, "It's setting up the new configuration for the show." Writer David Fury explains, "You can't sell [the network] on a show they've already been producing so you have to kind of sell them on a new paradigm - something to enliven it. It may not be broke but they feel like a little change won't hurt."
Minear explains that he decided to open this episode with the assumption that Lilah's offer of taking over Wolfram & Hart happened off-screen during the commercial break. "I watched the clock for 40 or 50 seconds and have each actor just shift uncomfortably for about a minute. It got pretty hilarious after a while but I got all the pieces. And Stephanie just kicked it out. So once my name is clear of the screen," Tim laughs, "someone will speak."
Wesley's guide around Wolfram & Hart asks him how he knew he was a Watcher. Wesley says, "there's something about Watchers and libraries," referencing Rupert Giles (Buffy Summers' Watcher), who was employed as the Sunnydale High School librarian during the first three seasons of Buffy.
This episode's tone mirrors that of the Season 4 finale of "Buffy." Whedon comments about "Restless" that he didn't want to do the traditional big action, explosion, fighting finale that had been done in previous Buffy finales. For this episode, there is no significant fight sequence barring Angel and Connor toward the end of the episode. Both episodes also precede significant story changers; Buffy with new 14-year-old sister Dawn, and Angel now in charge of the L.A. branch of Wolfram and Hart.
- Crossover with Buffy: Following the events of this episode, Angel travels to Sunnydale for "End of Days" and "Chosen", bearing an amulet that will be worn by Spike in the coming battle, and setting the stage for Spike's return in "Conviction".
- This episode acts as an intriguing new beginning for the characters. They ultimately agree to work within an inherently evil organization, hoping to fight evil from within "the belly of the beast."
- As a side effect of the spell it took to replace Connor's memories and put him with a new family, Angel becomes the only one who knows and remembers Connor. Everyone else forgets. But he will later find out that Eve has knowledge of this change in Conviction and that Cordelia remembers Connor in "You're Welcome".
- Wesley's guide, Rutherford Sirk, comments that the Watchers' Council no longer exists, a reference to the events of "Never Leave Me".
- The 'false' prophecy, "The father will kill the son," appeared to come true when Angel seemingly kills Connor by cutting his throat.
- The true reason behind Connor's hatred for his father is revealed: Holtz' lies about Angel of sending both him and Connor to Quor'Toth. Angel, however, does not attempt to deny this out of guilt of his son's plight, as he does hold both himself and Sahjhan responsible. Connor would learn the truth in Season 5's episode "Origin"
- Bratton, Kristy, ANGEL Season Four DVD Collection REVIEW
- Thompson, Phillip; Karnopp, Kris (April 30, 2003), "'Angel' season ends with return in doubt", Chicago Tribune, retrieved 2007-09-18
- DiLullo, Tara, The Sound of the Fury: Part II of an Exclusive Interview with Writer & Co-Executive Producer David Fury, retrieved 2007-10-16
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