In the fifteenth episode of the fifth season of Angel, there’s a hole in the world. Feels like we ought to have known. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Angel.
This isn’t getting any easier. I watched this late on the night of November 26th, cried off and on for over an hour, gave up on writing a review, and went to bed. I’ve been up for three hours, and I can’t write this. I know that I should expect heartbreak from this show, and I just had to deal with losing Cordelia a few episodes ago, but this episode hit me too hard. It’s like watching “The Body.” There comes a point where I appreciate it from the point of view of the storytelling and the acting, but I can’t really think about it. It’s too painful.
Even worse, the signs were all there. God, I’m watching a show helmed by Joss Whedon. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THE SECOND FRED AND WESLEY GOT TOGETHER THAT IT COULDN’T LAST. I should have known not to ask for puppies and rainbows, but it’s Fred. You can’t kill Fred. Because it’s Fred.
But I guess that’s the point. I suppose none of this could have happened if it weren’t for the group’s agreement with Wolfram & Hart, and more than ever before, it’s becoming clear that this was a bad decision. If you look back over this season, there are numerous hints towards Fred’s fate, but I think it’s more important to note that the very nature of the work these people do has left them helpless. Fred never would have met Knox. The sarcophagus would never have ended up in that lab if Gunn hadn’t helped it pass customs in order to get a permanent upgrade. And I’d even argue that Angel would never have compromised over Fred’s life if he hadn’t spent the bulk of a year making moral compromises for a living. He’s spent so many months being pragmatic and practical. That’s not to suggest that saving the lives of tens of thousands of other people is a bad decision, but I think Angel would have been more willing to save Fred if they were all still working in the hotel.
Perhaps I’m just being hopeful about a situation that’s hopeless. Blah.
It’s weird sitting here and thinking of “good” things about “A Hole in the World” because I’d love nothing more than if this didn’t exist. I’d take it all away to get Fred back. Still, I do want to acknowledge the following:
- I don’t want this to seem like I’m saying that this season or cast is mediocre or boring, so let me start off by stating that I LOVE THIS SHOW A GREAT DEAL. The whole cast has always impressed me and entertained me. Yet in “A Hole in the World,” it’s like a switch is flipped, and every actor and actress is suddenly giving the best performance of their life. From Lorne’s furious excoriation of Eve to Gunn’s fight with himself as the Conduit, to Angel and Spike’s devastating conversation in the Deeper Well, to the absolutely unbelievable performance from Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof as they both believably portray someone slowly and agonizingly slipping out of our world: this is incredible.
- This wouldn’t be a Whedonesque tragedy without some earth-shattering lines, and this episode has SO MANY OF THEM. It opens with Fred promising to have a boring life, and I know that’s kind of silly at first, but it made me think about the journey Fred has gone on throughout this show, and it made me proud of her. Then there’s this:
“I am not – I am not the damsel in distress! I am not some case. I have to work this. I lived in a cave for five years in a world where they killed my kind like cattle. I am not going to be cut down by some monster flu. I am better than that!”
Yep, I just teared up again while typing that quote. Fred, oh my god, I just want to hug you and pull you away from the Big Bad Whedon and his meanie death scripts and we can go get chai and talk about boys and everything will be puppies and rainbows. Please? Please?
“No. Not this girl. Not this day.”
No, stop it, stop it. And can we please talk about Spike’s journey in this episode? Him and Angel start this episode off fighting as they always do, first about stabbing Angel in the stomach and then about whether cavemen or astronauts would win. (Duh. Cavemen.) But when Spike finds out that the only person who cared enough to try and make him corporeal is dying, he puts aside his anger, his pettiness, and he gets shit done, going so far as to actually get along with Angel.
And his fucking unbelievable line on that bridge in the Deeper Well is going to break my heart for the rest of eternity. We ought to have known about this.
I guess that’s ultimately why this hurts so much. All of Winifred Burkle’s friends did whatever they could to save her. They held nothing back. They tried their hardest, but in the end, it didn’t matter. This wasn’t about skill or effort. Fred’s death was fate, the end result of a demon warrior’s plans for escape. And it wasn’t even about Fred. She just happened to be the one that Knox found “worthy.” It could have been anyone. But it wasn’t. It was Fred, and she’s dead.
The handsome man could not save her, and she could not stay. This is going to hurt for a long time, y’all. Oh god, we almost made it to the end of season five. She almost made it. UGH, it’s just too much.
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