"Fredless"
Written by Mere Smith; directed by Marita Grabiak

Wesley, Gunn, and Cordelia are doing weapons inventory at the Hyperion, though Cordelia isn’t proving to be as helpful as Wesley had hoped she would be. Wesley argues that the inventory wasn’t his idea (it was Angel’s), and Cordelia points out that he’s the boss and could put his foot down. Fred, who’s messing around with some sort of contraption, asks what time it is; Cordelia mentions that she just asked three minutes earlier. Fred wonders if Angel’s going to get back together with Buffy now that he knows she’s alive (see “Carpe Noctem”); Wesley thinks that there’s no way that will happen. Cordelia and Wesley act out The Love Story of Buffy and Angel. Angel returns, not thrilled with the little performance (though he admits that it’s pretty accurate), and tells the MoG that he doesn’t want to talk about the trip. (We’ll never know what happened, because in “Life Serial,” Buffy announces that she doesn’t want to talk about it, either.) Angel and Fred head out for ice cream (using the sewers); on their way back, Fred is excited about the ice cream and Angel’s return and the way he rescued her from a demon. She thinks that she’s boring and doesn’t know how Angel puts up with her. Suddenly, she spots something on the wall that looks like crystals, then hears a growling sound. Angel realizes that they’re near a demon’s lair and sends Fred back to the hotel while he takes care of the creature. Wesley, Gunn, and Cordelia continue their inventory at the Hyperion, lamenting that Cordelia hasn’t had a vision in awhile and complaining about Fred leaving her contraption out in the open. A couple named Roger (Gary Grubbs) and Trish (Jennifer Griffin) enters the hotel and asks the MoG to look for their missing daughter. After the MoG try to determine what sort of supernatural thing their daughter might have encountered, the couple reveals that a detective they’ve already hired told them that their daughter is staying at the Hyperion. Trish clarifies that their last name is Burkle and their daughter is Fred.

Fred returns to the Hyperion, spots her parents (who don’t see her), and runs upstairs. The MoG assure the Burkles that Fred is fine and will be back soon. The Burkles don’t know where Fred has been for the past five years; Cordelia tells them that she was depressed when they met her. Trish says that Fred sent them a letter a month earlier but didn’t leave a return address and told them not to look for her. Angel returns, excited about his encounter with the demon (whose head he has), and quickly spots the Burkles. Cordelia covers for him, pretending that Angel works on a movie set and the head is a prop. Upstairs, Fred tries to clean the writing off of her walls (see “Heartthrob”), then grabs a bunch of her things. The MoG and the Burkles head upstairs to Fred’s room but find it clean and Fred gone. The MoG wonder why Fred would run away. The MoG head back down to Wesley’s office, noting that something seems off about Roger and Trish. They think that Fred came back to the hotel, saw her parents, and ran away from them. Wesley thinks that Roger and Trish may have lied about Fred sending them the letter, but Angel wonders if Fred really did tell them not to look for her for some reason. Angel asks where Fred might have gone and Gunn (partly joking and partly serious) suggests that they hit all of the taco stands in town. They decide to check out the sewers and the library instead. The MoG wonder what to tell the Burkles, finally deciding to bring them along. Angel heads off to talk to some contacts and the other MoG head off with Roger and Trish. Fred winds up at the recently-demolished Caritas (see “That Old Gang of Mine”), where she sings “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and he sense that she’s full of panic and fear. She tells him that she needs money and he tells her that he knows she’s “in a bad place.” Lorne continues, “You thought you could outrun them, and maybe you were free. But those old monsters hunted you down. I know why you’re running away, Fred. You know what your problem is?” Fred thinks that she’s not strong enough to stick around and face what’s scaring her. He replies that she’s wrong - she hasn’t run far enough.

Angel heads through the sewers, looking for Fred and not seeing a demon watching him. The others head to the library as Roger and Trish wonder why Fred, a physicist, would work for a detective agency. Cordelia says that Fred’s “gone through some changes” and Roger asks whose fault that is. The MoG duck off for a second and Gunn says that they should’ve checked out the taco stands. They wonder where Fred would go for “help and guidance,” then call Angel and tell him to meet them at Caritas. Lorne gets in a few jabs at Gunn for letting his friends tear up the place, so Gunn decides to wait outside. Cordelia explains Lorne to the Burkles by saying that he makes monster movies with Angel. Roger and Trish wonder if the MoG really do know where Fred is and just don’t want to tell them. Lorne stalls for a little while, then tells Angel that Fred was there but doesn’t want to see her parents. He wants the MoG to respect that, but Angel says that the Burkles will just track Fred down again. Lorne finally relents but warns Angel to handle things delicately. In a bus terminal, Fred waits for a bus and talks about starting her life over again. Unfortunately, she’s being stalked by the demon that was spying on Angel in the sewers. The MoG and the Burkles arrive and Fred tries to run off, telling her parents that they’re not really there. She starts crying, talking about how lost she felt when she was in Pylea and her parents weren’t there. Now that her parents are there, she realizes that everything that happened to her in Pylea was real. “I-I didn’t mean to get so lost!” she says as her parents hug her and tell her that everything will be okay. Unfortunately, their reunion is interrupted by a huge insect demon. Angel sends everyone outside, thinking that he can handle the demon on his own, despite the fact that all of his weapons are back at the Hyperion. As they all run to the car to look for weapons, Wesley quickly explains to the Burkles that Angel is a vampire with a soul. The MoG attempt to fight the insect, which gets in a swipe at Fred, making Roger mad. Trish drives a bus into the insect, effectively squashing it. “Did I get it, y’all?” she asks.

Everyone heads back to the hotel, where Cordelia tends to Fred’s injuries and Roger asks about the demon Angel killed. (By the way, it has the same crystals on it that Fred saw in the sewers.) Angel and Wesley note that Fred and her parents look very happy to be back together. Fred explains the MoG’s roles to her parents (“Angel’s the champion, and Wesley’s the brains of the operation; Gunn’s the muscle and Cordy’s the heart…”) but doesn’t get as far as describing her role. Roger tells Angel that he doesn’t care if he’s a vampire, since he saved Fred; they bond a little over golf. Fred suddenly announces that she wants to go back to Texas with her parents, since she’s not cut out to be an MoG and Texas is safer than L.A. Her parents gladly accept this and the MoG try to convince themselves that Fred will be happier back in Texas. Up in her room, Fred looks around at the walls and Angel comes up to say goodbye. She tells him that the walls contain the story of her life. She notes that after he saved her from the cave in Pylea, she made a new cave in the Hyperion. “But you can’t save me this time. Can you?” she asks Angel. Downstairs, Roger, Trish, and the other MoG try to determine what Fred’s contraption does. Fred comes down and says goodbye to the MoG; Cordelia admits that she’s a little jealous. In the cab on the way to the airport, Fred looks at the insect demon blood on her shirt and notices that it’s turned into crystals. She quickly tells the cab driver to turn around and go back. Back at the hotel, Cordelia says that she misses Roger and Trish, since she, Angel, Wesley, and Gunn don’t have parents around to take care of them. As Cordelia says that she envies Fred’s normal life, something in the demon’s head starts moving. They don’t notice an insect demon emerging from the head until it’s already ready to attack them. They start fighting and are soon joined by Fred, who uses her contraption to split open the demon head with an axe. A bunch of bugs crawl out of it and head outside. She explains to the MoG that she figured out the crystals and the fact that the insects were inside the demon; the bug came to the hotel to get its babies from the demon’s head. Fred announces that she’s changed her mind - she can’t go back to Texas and pretend that the past five years never happened. The MoG are happy to have her stay in L.A. and the Burkles decide to stay for a few days to spend more time with Fred. The next day, the Burkles and the MoG repaint Fred’s walls. She bravely studies her drawings and formulas for the last time, then paints over them.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: The past might follow you from Texas to L.A. and wonder where you’ve been for five years.

GRADE: B The Burkles are kind of fun, but it’s too bad they get treated so badly later in the series.

WELCOME TO L.A.: Roger, Trish

MEMORABLE QUOTES: Cordelia: (as Buffy) “Oh, Angel! I know that I’m a Slayer and you a vampire, and it would be impossible for us to be together, but….”
Wesley: (as Angel) “But! My gypsy curse sometimes prevents me from seeing the truth. Oh, Buffy!”
Cordelia: (as Buffy) “Yes, Angel?”
Wesley: (as Angel) “Oh, I love you so much I almost forgot to brood!”
Cordelia: (as Buffy) “And just because I sent you to Hell that one time doesn’t mean that we can’t just be friends. Oh!”
Wesley: (as Angel) “Or possibly more.”
Cordelia: (as Buffy) “Gasp! No! We mustn’t!”
Wesley: (as Angel) “Kiss me!”
Cordelia: (as Buffy) “Bite me!”
Angel: “How about you both bite me?”

“You know, back in my days as a rogue demon hunter, I once used that very spear to pin down what I thought was a small Rodentius demon. Of course, the poodle’s owners weren’t very happy.” - Wesley

Cordelia: “Fred can barely tie her shoes without Mr. Oh, You’re My Big, Fat Hero! around.”
Angel: “You think I’m fat?”

“Can’t you read the sign on the door? Se habla closed.” - Lorne

Lorne: “…I’m not some mystical vending machine here to spit out answers every time you waltz in with a problem. I have a heart. Granted it’s located in my left butt cheek, but it’s still a heart. And that heart is broken! I mean, why is it no one ever cares about my destiny? Everyone who walks through that door is all about me, me, me. Well, what about my me? My me’s important.”
Angel: “You know where she is, don’t you?”
Lorne: “A-and another thing - how…how do they get the pimentos in the olives, huh? There’s a mystery for you. You know, do they stuff each one by hand? ‘Cause that seems a little time consuming. Or do you think they have a…little…pimento…stuffing…machine…?”

Gunn: “The lady makes bug soup with a ten ton bus, but show her a papier mache head, she gets the willies. Ha. Women.”
Angel: “Uh, Gunn, you do know it’s not papier mache.”
Gunn: (quickly taking his hands off of the demon’s head) “We still got that bleach in the bathroom?”

Cordelia: “Voila! That’s French for ‘I think we stopped the bleeding.’”
Fred: “Thanks, Cordelia.”
Cordelia: “Next up: multiple stab wounds. Angel!”
Angel: “Uh, it’s my turn. Oh, yay!”


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