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 411mania » Movies » DVD/Other Reviews

Angel Investigated - 5.15 A Hole In The World
Posted by Jason Chamberlain on 01.26.2012

5.15 A Hole In The World
Writer: Joss Whedon
Director: Joss Whedon

Whedon Speak

Spike: Harmony just pulled me out of a very promising poker game down in Accounts Receivable, so this better be good. Oh, and, by the way, all the guys down there agree that astronauts don't stand a chance against cavemen, so don't even start.
Angel: Look, I can't do this anymore.
Spike: Admitting defeat, are you?
Angel: You and me. This isn't working out.
Spike: [mock-dramatic] Are you saying we should start annoying other people?

Quotes from the cast and crew regarding Freddie’s death

"I thought it'd be really funny to kill Amy," Joss Whedon explains. He and the other writers decided to kill the character of Fred so that Amy Acker could "play somebody new, somebody who's regal and scary and different than anything she's gotten to do on the show. The best way to do that of course is to kill her and have her become somebody else. I cried man tears when I wrote it, and when I filmed it and when I edited it...it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever filmed."

Amy Acker said, "We kept crying while we were just reading the script; saying, 'We're not going to have any tears left!' Of course that didn't really hold true..."

Alexis Denisof says, "There's a sort of tightening that happens with each scene where you feel it just getting worse and worse and I remember when we were shooting it that that was what kept choking me up. The situation of losing Fred was becoming more and more real and closer."

Case Files

Eve sings a snippet of "L.A. Song", the song Lindsey performed on his guitar at Caritas in "Dead End"… Joss Whedon wanted Giles to appear in this episode. Drogyn was his replacement… This is the last episode written and directed by Whedon. td>

Ronny Sarnecky has the full review!

Are you kidding me? I can’t believe it! What a cock blocker Joss Whedon turned out to be! We’ve invested all of this time looking forward to a Wesley/Freddie relationship, and this is the pay off? Joss, I usually love all of your shows, but this was very disappointing. I just hope the folks at “Castle” aren’t paying attention. That’s all I need is for Castle and Beckett to finally get together, and then boom, one of them gets killed off. That rant is for a different day. Back to “Angel.”

I understand that Joss wanted to go in a different direction, and wanted to shock the audience. However, now was not the time. You just put Wesley and Freddie together in the last episode! This sucked. This isn’t “Romeo & Juliet.” Why are all of the relationships on “Buffy” and “Angel” doomed? Buffy and Angel. Buffy and Spike. Xander and Cordelia. Cordelia and Angel. Xander and Anya. Willow and Tara. Can’t one couple live happily ever after?

OK, now that I vented about my favorite “Angel” character being killed off, let me review this further. On the negative, Freddie is dead. However, on the positive side, I was very glad to see in future episodes that Amy Acker still has a role on the show. I like her new character, Illyria. It’s nice to see Amy Acker being able to play a stronger character on the show. At the same time, why do “normal” characters on “Buffy/Angel” always have to get a super power? Willow turned into a witch. Cordelia received visions. Gunn now has super knowledge with the law. Of course, Buffy was a vampire slayer. It seemed like the only “normal” people on the shows were Giles, Xander, Wesley, and Freddie. Coincidentally, these were my favorite characters in both series.

One of the things that I loved about this episode is that we really saw Angel and Spike working together for the first time. Sure, the two have joined forces before. Although, they would bicker while doing so. However, this was the first time where the two seemed to be on the same team with one another. The character “Freddie” had that effect on people. Everybody loved Freddie. That’s why Angel and Spike were able to put their differences aside. They knew that their spats meant nothing. Freddie’s life was at stake.

I also liked that they had Gunn’s decision to basically sell his soul as the catalyst for the birth of Illyria. It showed that there are consequences to every situation. Gunn’s reaction to hearing the news was really good. Sure, in the future, Gunn will probably feel guilt beyond belief. However, I was glad to see that Gunn knocked out Knox after hearing the news. It became obvious that even though Gunn has moved on from his relationship with Freddie, he still cares deeply about her.

Mike Gorman "A Hole in the World" (get ready for overly dramatic opening moment!!!) ripped a hole in my heart. Oh, damn you Joss Whedon, you did it again. You set us up to feel like we finally had what we wanted, a Fred and Wesley relationship. It was something that had been teased so often and so hard over the years that the sigh of relief we all released last week when they kissed was monumental. And then this week, it was ripped away from us, the taste of each other still fresh on their lips. It is a scenario that we know you love and deeply parallels the Tara-Willow situation from Buffy.

All of that said, it was a move that shook up the series in ways that were felt for the rest of the season. Fred meant so much to the other characters in the Angel-verse that it is no exaggeration to say that they did not ever truly recover from her loss, especially when her body was still hanging around housing the god that caused her death in the first place. Years later I am still not sure how I feel in the end about Fred's death and the birth of Illyria, but then I suppose that is a testament to the power of the story.
Jeremy Thomas I hate Joss Whedon so much. Hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE. Which is to say, of course, that I love his work and that he is the absolute MAN when it comes to serial television. There's no other person who has managed to build up characters so effectively that when they get killed off, you feel as hollowed out emotionally as Fred was physically. I will never understand Whedon's fetish for killing off characters just before or after they find some romantic happiness, but damn if it doesn't make for some seriously incredible scenes. Whedon has talked about why he killed off Fred and he said that he wanted to give Amy Acker the opportunity to, in his words, play somebody new, somebody who's regal and scary and different than anything she's gotten to do on the show. The best way to do that of course is to kill her and have her become somebody else." And that's exactly what we're getting with Illyria, who quickly became one of my favorite Angel supporting characters of all-time despite the fact that the show only has seven episodes left when she is introduced.

But we're not there yet...or at least, we just saw the beginning. First we have this episode which, unlike the Jasmine story last year, manages to pull several things together and talk about destiny and overreaching plans without minimizing anything or feeling like it completely rendered what had come before pointless. We even get a great re-appearance from poor Eve, who is alone and scared--not to mention the target of Lorne at his most bad-ass ever. The whole thing was set up for Angel and Spike to play the heroes with everyone doing their part, even when Knox is revealed as the villain, and then...the rug is just pulled out from under us, as we learned that cavemen really DO beat astronauts. That, by the way, is one of those great things Joss does...he takes something that starts off as a joke and gives it such a tragic double-meaning in a way you'd never expect. You have to give it up for Amy Acker for delivering a fantastic performance--fragile, scared and ravaged yet strong and determined the whole way through. And then when she stands up as Illyria and says "This will do," it's such a different demeanor that it just gives me chills. This is just a brilliant, brilliant episode and is one of multiple perfect scores I've given and will give for Season Five (since I was unable to contribute last week, "Smile Time" would have gotten a 10.0 too, but for a very different reason).
Jason ChamberlainIt is pretty brutal that Joss, for whatever reason, cannot or will not allow any of his romantically entangled characters to have any kind of happy ending. Ripping Fred away just an episode after she and Wes finally got together is even worse, especially when you consider that when this episode was produced, the series hadn’t been cancelled yet… so it’s not like they knew they had to rush through the story. Though as it turned out, they did have to. Stupid WB…
I love Fred, and Amy Acker is ridiculously hot… but the impact of her death is lessened somewhat by the fact that she gives way to Illyria, who is probably on my list of top 5 Whedonverse characters, despite her limited number of appearances.
As a Spike fanboy, it’s nice to see him and Angel finally working together towards a common goal. Their dynamic, whether as enemies or squabbling allies, has always been awesome and one of my many regrets is that we didn’t get to see more of that. Stupid WB….
Knox being a creep isn’t much of a surprise… if anything it’s surprising they waited this long to show his true colors.
If I have one problem with the ep, and it’s not a dealbreaker, it’s that some of Fred’s ‘dying’ dialogue is a little hackneyed. “Why can’t I stay”, though, is still heart shattering all these years later.

GRR!!! ARGH!!!

The 411: This was a great episode, even though I hated that they killed off the character of “Freddie.” I guess it was a necessary step in the progression of the story that Joss Whedon was telling as the series was coming to a close. The end of the episode featured the birth of Illyria, leaving us viewers wondering where the story will take us next.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  10.0   [ Virtually Perfect ]  legend


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