Angel Rewatch – Podcast for 5.15 “A Hole in the World”


Here is the podcast covering episode fifteen of season five “A Hole in the World”

You can download it here.

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Next, we will be covering episode sixteen of season five, “Shells” where the gang must confront what to do with Illyria.


6 responses to “Angel Rewatch – Podcast for 5.15 “A Hole in the World””

  1. Joseph says :

    OK, Derek’s right. The emotional core of this episode is that Joss fridged Fred, and it’s a variation on the plot that they did last episode, and I could argue that the trademark third act Whedon character death is actually somewhat gender distributed across his series (Angel in Buffy, spoiler in Serenity, spoiler in Dollhouse, spoiler in Avengers I, spoiler in Age of Ultron), but ultimately it doesn’t matter, because I am literally still wiping tears from my eyes after

    Is there anything in this life but grief?

    There’s love. There’s hope… for some. There’s hope that you’ll find something worthy… that your life will lead you to some joy… that after everything… you can still be surprised.

    Is that enough?

    I love high drama – King Lear is my favorite Shakespeare play by a long shot – Edgar and Lear screaming at the storm, Lear carrying Cordelia, everything – that’s part of why I love Season 4 so much, but if Season 4 took the intensity level to 11 out of 10 at points, this was a 15.

    The best part was how terrifying Wes was. He was so devastated that he could do anything, but everything from that initial ax attack and attempt to talk Illyria into leaving to the smashing the coffin kept reminding us that he was completely in control, which made him even more terrfying.

    Next best was the acting – Acker and Denisof were amazing, and sold some lines that were fairly cheesy through sheer talent and commitment. Everybody else was really excellent – Richard’s performance was completely believable, and Boreanaz and Marsters refined their desperate tough guy performances from last episode to something even better. In an episode without Wes overshadowing it, Angel’s anger and intensity would make him frightening – here, it was just impressive. And “were you even listening” was perfect Whedon humor – breaking the tension on a horrible situation, just for a second, so he can drop you right back down.

    I loved Kate and Angel because their relationship was so twisted – a woman scarred by an emotionally unavailable father looks to season 1 Angel for approval and companionship – but Illyria and Wes is a hundred times worse, or better. She’s lost her army, and her priest, and is coming to him for guidance, wearing the face of the woman he lost, and he says yes because it’s the right thing to do, and because he can’t let her go. Now THAT’S high drama.

    Yes, he was haunted by the ghost of his last girlfirend, and he couldn’t save her, and now he’s haunted by the shell of the woman he loved even more than he hates himself, but frankly, I could watch Joss torturing Wes all day.

    This might be my favorite episode. 99.8/100. (The 0.2 is for Harmony – yes, vampires can be complex and they needed someone to do those scenes, but it was a little distracting. Have Nina do it or even Eve.)

  2. Joseph says :

    Late comments for Hole in the World:

    Lorne’s face when Fred sings and Fred and Wesley’s last moments are some of my all time most memorable TV moments. It’s a flawed episode, but man it cuts deep.

    Speaking of flaws, Angel always takes me out of an episode when he talks tough and no one makes fun of him. The low point of “You’re Welcome” was “I’m Angel. I beat the bad guys” and the low point of “Hole in the World” was “Winnifred Burkle. Go.” Angel needs to take tough talking lessons from Wesley.

    Speaking of Wesley, I think his and Fred’s relationship is actually the most grounded in the show. I always read Season Three as hinting that Fred was open to a potential relationship – not head over heels like Wes, but interested, but that Billy and Waiting in the Wings just meant they weren’t to be. But their emotional relationship went on, through Supersymmetry and Fred’s disappointment when she realized that Wesley had a relationship with Lilah, and moving on to now. I’ve said before that most of the other relationships feel like something with Friends – “Hey, we’re both attractive and we see each other all the time, how about it?” – But Wes and Fred felt like something else: a genuinely good person who thought there might be something worthwhile in the brainy, sexy self-hating douchebag man-child hero Daddy Wyndam-Price produced, and said brainy, sexy, self-hating douchebag man-child hero, who seems to have gotten to know Fred as a person, and never stopped loving her, and never will. Probably a doomed relationship ultimately, but interesting and believable.

    Speaking of sexism, all of the guys have obvious flaws, but on reflection, Cordelia and Fred are both flawless. They have different personalities, but they’re both good hearted straight talking heros and whose greatest flaws are that one of them enjoys shopping and one of them sometimes rambles on a bit. Part of that is Joss making their approval a prize for the successful boys, but it would have been more interesting to give them their own weaknesses. Imagine if Faith had been brought in to spice up the season instead of Spike – then we’d have another woman for Fred to talk to, and a women who’s something less than perfect.

    Speaking of Wolfram and Hart’s plan, it’s kind of interesting that the comeuppance for joining Wolfram and Hart has been mostly that the gang is depending on people who were evil enough to work there – Eve, Knox, and the Doctor – and that those people can’t be trusted, no more by Angel than by the Senior Partners. If the Senior Partners have a plan, we haven’t seen it, unless it’s to flush out some rival evil people like Knox. Instead, Angel was set up by Eve, and Fred and Gunn were set up by Knox and the Doctor, none of whom seem to be carrying out the Senior Partners’ plan. (On the other hand, based on Holland’s speech to Angel, maybe the Senior Partners’ plan just IS to create a petri dish where the good can be corrupted and evil can flourish, then let people like Knox do their own thing).

  3. Cathleen says :

    Fair comments by Derek in the last podcast. Too many characters have been ‘fridged’ in the last dozen years since Angel was on the air. It can be hard to see Fred’s death as any different to the multitude of characters who have died to move characterization along.
    This is probably the only two-parter episode in the Buffyverse where I love the first episode more than the second but Shells is another strong episode for the series.
    Amy Acker’s immediate transformation into Illyria is striking. As hard as it was to loose Fred I love that Amy got to become a completely different character and just owned it. Amy getting to kick ass is a delight. Her performance with Alexis in the scene in her lab at the end is heart wrenching. How could anyone say no to guiding Illyria when they remind them so much of the person they love?
    Gunn disappoints me by lying to the gang about who was responsible for Fred’s death. He was in shock but I think if he came forward immediately Wes would’ve been a tad more reasonable when they still had Knox there to torture over Fred’s death.
    I like how dark Wes gets by stabbing Gunn and then killing Knox because he’s lost all reason.
    Not sure I agree with the decision to declare that Fred’s soul was destroyed and there’s no chance of her been brought back. In a way it’s nice to be told immediately that the gang won’t be spending the rest of the season trying to bring Fred back and Illyria is here to stay. Though leaving it open for the show to explore an inner battle with Illyria transforming into Fred and back if her powers were ever diminished would’ve been a great story line for the show had season 6 existed. They could’ve found a way to make it clear Fred wouldn’t return this season.
    Not usually a fan of the music monologue at the end of an episode but something about this song and how this episode concluded with showing how the gang was coping with the loss of Fred felt right to include it.

  4. hausosdance says :

    As others have said, even though this story development does have many enjoyable features it is definitely total fridging and they keep highlighting it by equating it to the loss of Cordy too – in case we forgot that they lost both female leads in similar ways (they were victims rather than choosing their fate, etc). It would be a bit better perhaps if Illyria was emphasised as a female demon, so that we still have a female main character and the complex journey that it now seems we will see Illyria take would be some mitigating factor in the fridging, But unfortunately and really quite unnecessarily they take pains to highlight that the proper pronoun is ‘it’, not ‘she’ – an insecty demon god thing is using Fred’s body (and may now develop a bromance with Wes) but it isn’t female. Knox calls it ‘King’ rather than Queen, etc. So unrelatable Harmony is now the only female character. Its a shame. Oh well, at least Amy Acker is still there.

    And she is great – I think. I wasn’t sure how good until we flashed back to Fred at the end and I just bawled my eyes out, feeling that I was ‘missing her’. So she did convince me both as a separate character and as a real one despite the monotone in which Illyria speaks.

    A really, really sad episode. Some very brief lighter moments such as Spike’s comments on the JD bottles, and ‘were you even listening??’ (when Wesley shoots Knox in the ‘Bank of Hyperion’).

    On which point – its fun to have dark, deep Wes back. Really hoping we get to the memory-assault that Angel performed on them all soon… and to have more on Angel’s own storyline rather than Spike always getting all the ‘deep’ lines (although JM does slay it, of course). I find Angel a bit dull at the moment so I’m keen to get back to his bathos and pathos – ideally without killing any more women but they must have reintroduced Nina for something! 🙂

    Would have liked to see more of Lorne. Not to keep harping on and on but his scenes really ram it home – again – that grief for Cordy wasn’t a ‘thing’ (Angel mentioned her again, so it doesn’t seem like they’ve mystically forgotten she just died).

    Finally, Gunn. Stabbed, alone in hospital, seen as a traitor and kicked out of the group. Will he be locking people in his closet before too long? I keep trying to feel sad for him but then remember him singing three little maids last episode and I start lolling again 🙂


  5. thehistoryofbyzantium says :

    Sorry to be repetitive. But “Shells” was 43 minutes of telling the audience “Fred is dead. She is not coming back. Despite all the magic ways other characters came back.” Hence underlining my point that it wasn’t clear that Fred was definitely dying last episode. Hindsight frees us to view it as a big tragedy episode but at the time it felt like a confused, depressing twist.

  6. Michelle says :

    I was thinking about this the other day. The argument for Angel/Spike letting Fred die was that if they tried to save her everyone between her and the Deeper Well would get illyria passed through them and possibly die or something — so then, if they had brought Fred with them in the first place, that would’ve been a non issue? What was the reason for them not entertaining bringing her there after learning this? If time was the constraint, couldn’t they have looked a bit into teleportation etc? We know in the Buffyverse both Anya and Willow have been known to be able to teleport, albeit maybe not long-distance. Still..I feel like they just..gave up without trying too hard..

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