Lonely Hearts (Angel)

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"Lonely Hearts"
Angel episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 2
Directed by James A. Contner
Written by David Fury
Production code 1ADH02
Original air date October 12, 1999
Guest actors
  • Elisabeth Röhm as Kate Lockley
  • Lillian Birdsell as Sharon Richler
  • Obi Ndefo as Bartender
  • Derek Hughes as Neil
  • Johnny Messner as Kevin
  • Jennifer Tung as Neil Pick-Up Girl
  • Tracey Stone as Pretty Girl
  • David Nisic as Slick Guy
  • Ken Rush as Guy
  • Connor Kelly as Regular
Episode chronology
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"City Of"
Next →
"In the Dark"
List of Angel episodes

"Lonely Hearts" is the second episode of season one of the television show Angel. Written by David Fury and directed by James A. Contner, it was originally broadcast on October 12, 1999 on the WB network. In "Lonely Hearts", Angel Investigations looks into a series of killings linked to a trendy L.A. singles club. While there, Angel (David Boreanaz) meets Kate Lockley (Elisabeth Röhm), an LAPD detective also tracking the serial killer - who believes, because of circumstantial evidence, that the murderer is Angel himself. After discovering the murderer is actually a body-hopping demon, Angel seeks Kate's help in tracking down the bartender, now possessed by the demon, and killing him. Kate, believing the bartender committed the murders, accepts a provisional truce with a circumspect Angel.

Fury wrote this script to replace "Corrupt", which introduced a darker characterization of Kate Lockley.

Plot[edit]

At the office, Angel sits in the dark, alone. He blinks when the lights come on and Doyle arrives, with a Friday-night plan for the three of them to go out together. He wants Angel to get out but also wants him to put in a good word for him with Cordelia without letting her know he's half-demon. Shortly after Cordelia arrives with a box of the calling cards she had printed up for Angel Investigations. Doyle is seized by a vision of a night club, and they all go to the club.

Meanwhile at D'Oblique, the club in Doyle's vision, the lonely and desperate Sharon and Kevin meet and leave the club together, just after the Angel Investigations team arrives. Cordelia immediately begins to pass around Angel's business cards until Doyle stops her, cautioning her to stay "under the radar". Angel makes no progress with people near the bar or the bartender until a woman named Kate asks if he's all right. They awkwardly strike up a conversation, and despite a slow start, Angel and Kate find they have some things in common. Across the room, a guy mockingly speculates that the AI calling cards give Cordelia's number for services of a more personal kind. Cordelia is indignant and Doyle tries to stand up for her, but the guy is backed up by his friend, so Doyle stops negotiating and wades in. Having just declined Kate's invitation to go someplace quieter (making Kate suddenly very frosty), Angel charges into the fight and thrashes both guys, before the bartender kicks the guys out.

The next morning after spending the night with Kevin, Sharon calmly gets dressed, unperturbed by the bloody sheets and Kevin's dead body on the bed. At the office, the team spends the day researching any past incidents connected to D'Oblique. Their search turns up a badly mutilated woman and an eviscerated man. While Doyle and Cordelia look for more links, Angel goes back to D'Oblique to see if he can spot the killer. On his way in, Angel bumps into Kate, who takes umbrage when he tries to warn her of a suspiciously non-specific danger. Inside, Angel finds out that Kevin disappeared after going home with Sharon. He finds her in the phone book and runs straight to her place to try to prevent the next murder. Angel arrives at the apartment just in time to see that Sharon is dead while Neil, the geeky guy she took home, is alive and hosting a parasitic demon. Angel and the demon fight, but it gets away just as Kate arrives and finds Angel at the crime scene. Pulling a gun on Angel, Kate reveals she's a detective with the LAPD, and tries to arrest him. Knowing Kate won't be convinced he's not the killer, Angel breaks away and dives out the third floor window. Meanwhile, the demon goes back to D'Oblique. As dawn approaches, Angel makes his way to Cordelia's dingy apartment, not knowing that Kate has gone to illegally search his own place. Waking Cordelia and Doyle, Angel asks them to research eviscerating burrowers—demons that move from body to body, endlessly seeking the perfect one to live in forever. They discover their burrower is vulnerable to fire. Seeking help to destroy the powerful demon, Angel calls Kate and requests a meeting to prove that he isn't the killer. That night at the club, Kate asks the bartender to notify her when Angel arrives. A few minutes later the bartender tells Kate he thinks Angel is out back but, when they get there, the bartender smashes a wine bottle into the back of Kate's head. Angel arrives just in time to keep the burrower demon from transferring to Kate's body, forcing it back inside the bartender. Though weakening, the bartender host is still strong enough to fight Angel until Kate recovers. Then, not wanting to deal with them both at once, the demon tosses Kate and Angel down into the basement and locks them in.

While the demon cruises for a fresh, undamaged body, Kate and Angel escape the basement and split up to search. Angel locates the bartender first and again battles the demon in its bartender host, which is still strong enough to injure Angel. Angel barely manages to throw the demon into a nearby burn barrel before collapsing to the pavement. Engulfed in flames and howling, the demon lurches purposefully toward Angel, who is on the ground and unable to move. Circling back, Kate arrives just in time to shoot the bartender, knocking him to the ground and halting the attack on Angel. After more police and emergency services arrive on scene, Kate gets a moment alone with Angel. She admits that she never would have guessed the bartender was the killer and thanks Angel for saving her life earlier. Agreeing that the bartender had ample opportunity, Angel makes no mention of a body-hopping, parasitic demon being the real killer. After Angel thanks Kate for saving his life as well, she apologizes for searching his apartment. She wants the two of them to start over from the beginning with no secrets between them; Angel pauses almost imperceptibly, then agrees. He offers her his new business card and invites her to call if she has future problems, then characteristically disappears when her back is turned.

At the office, Angel generously and very awkwardly suggests that the three of them go out together, but is deeply relieved and gratified when Cordelia and Doyle instead take pity on him and leave him to brood in the dark, alone.

Production details[edit]

Special effects supervisor Loni Peristere explains that to get the effect of the demon burrowing through the characters' bodies, Dave Miller built a prosthetic back to identically match the actor. "We shot the actor doing his action with tracking points, little marks on his back, and I just soft edged, matted and tracked in a locked-off version of the actors back with the burrowing demon and stuck it on there," Peristere says.[1]

David Boreanaz's stunt double, Mike Massa, says the scene in which he is tossed across the room upside down is his favorite stunt of this season. To get the effect, he was shot across the room using an air ram. "The reason I like it so much is because it really knocked the heck out of me," he says. "It was 900 pounds of thrust on the air-ram. I had to hit the corner just right. If I was off, if I hit dead center of the corner with my shoulders spread it could have broken a collarbone. I had to hit it sideways, my back flat to the wall and kind of skip into it, but it just pile drove me right to the ground." Director Jim Contner "was jumping up and down... He thought that was the best stunt he'd ever seen."[2]

In an essay examining the use of cinematic effects of time on Angel, Tammy Kinsey points out Doyle's visions are depicted on film for the first time in this episode. Although short and simple compared to later visions, the quick cuts and flashes of light establish the aesthetic approach of Angel compared to the more conventionally filmed Buffy.[3]

At 27:30, a cameraman can be seen in the lower right-hand corner as Angel is tossed across the room.

Writing[edit]

David Fury wrote this episode to replace his original script, titled "Corrupt", which also introduces the character of Kate. However, in Fury's first script, Kate had a crack cocaine addiction and worked undercover as a prostitute. Producer Tim Minear says the episode was "a little bit too hopeless, a little too grim"; after the WB Network rejected the episode it was completely rewritten.[4]

Arc significance[edit]

  • This episode introduces the character of Kate Lockley, who plays a recurring role until the end of season two. Kate and Angel will meet several more times before she learns in "Somnambulist" that he is a vampire, after which their tentative relationship grows extremely strained until their final encounter in "Epiphany".
  • The interrelated elements of Doyle's attraction to Cordelia, his attempts to hide his demon heritage from her, and her attitude about the "gift" of his visions are all established in this episode, and will all bear fruit in "Hero".

Continuity[edit]

  • Kate tells Angel to "go to hell" to which he quietly responds with "been there... done that." Angel was sent to hell by Buffy in "Becoming, Part Two" and returns in "Faith, Hope & Trick".
  • Cordelia's rosy-tinted remark that "dating was easy in high school" is explicitly belied by events in "Lovers Walk." In fact, Buffy and her friends find dating to be one of the chief horrors they face during their three adventurous years together in Sunnydale (Buffy, seasons one through three). Although he sidesteps Cordelia's conversational gambit and declines to expand on the topic of his curse, Angel himself found dating the Slayer traumatic in the extreme during that interval, particularly around events in "Surprise" and "Becoming, Part Two". He is still wracked by the ordeal of breaking up with Buffy ("The Prom"), then of leaving her altogether ("Graduation Day, Part Two") just a few months ago.
  • Cordelia remarks about Doyle's visions "If they were my gift, I'd return them". In the episode "Hero" she receives then she does indeed try to lose them but when presented with the opportunity to give them up in the season 2 finale, she refuses stating that they're "a part of me".
  • This episode marks the first time a "vision" is seen as how Doyle experiences it.

Cultural references[edit]

  • Batman: Doyle says to Angel, "It's not like you have a signal folks can shine in the sky whenever you need help, right?" Elsewhere in the episode, Angel pulls out a grappling hook gun and fires it over a wood beam, causing Kate to ask, "who are you?" This is a direct reference to a scene in the 1989 Batman film.
  • Ken and Barbie: When Sharon mentions her childhood dreams, Kevin looks around at all the plastic people in the crowded noisy room and says, "Ken and Barbie had it easy. They didn't have to come to places like this."
  • Peter Pan complex: Cordelia demonstrates her strange mixture of insight and obliviousness when she singles out D'Oblique patrons for her pop psychology lesson to Doyle. In fact, many people in the room could have issues with social (im)maturity and loneliness and abandonment (Angel perhaps most of all). What Cordelia doesn't seem to grasp is that people (including herself) connect with other people, not with abstracts such as relative wealth or a model's good looks. Unlike the Talamour they're tracking, she still confuses initial attractiveness with substance.
  • Naked City: When Angel asserts that he'll be able to recognize the eviscerating Talamour demon in whatever body it inhabits, Doyle quips, "That only leaves about five million suspects in The Naked City." This could be one of the clearer mission statements for the entire series, which incorporates elements of mystery, drama and noir within the context of a big city intended to function as a character in its own right. Cordelia explicitly makes the noir connection again in the first episode of season two, "Judgment".
  • Cagney & Lacey: In "Somnambulist", Cordelia also refers to Kate as "Police Woman."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bratton, Kristy, Special FX: CoA Interviews Loni Peristere, Special FX Supervisor 
  2. ^ Bratton, Kristy, Mike Massa: Stunt Double for "Angel" 
  3. ^ Kinsey, Tammy A. (2005), "Transitions and Time: the Cinematic Language of Angel", in Stacey Abbott, Reading Angel: The TV Spin-off With a Soul, I.B.Tauris, p. 51 
  4. ^ Gross, Edward (August 14, 2000), ANGEL: Season One, Episode By Episode with Tim Minear, retrieved 2007-09-25 

External links[edit]