Recap / Angel S01E15 "The Prodigal"

Angel discovers that Kate Lockley's father may be involved in the sale of a demon drug. We discover more about Angel's past before he became a vampire.

Tropes in this episode:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Justified in the case of Darla, who's more evil than Liam ever could be—alive, anyway.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The henchvamps.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Angel, in 1753, coaxes a pretty female servant into the shadows... only to be pushed into the sunlight by his father. He doesn't burst into flame because he's not a vampire yet, just hungover.
  • Bar Brawl: Liam when he first catches Darla's eye.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Liam became a vampire as a result of a noisy confrontation with his father, which resulted in him getting kicked out. As Angelus, he later "triumphed" by killing his family, saving his father for last.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • Kate is interrogating a delivery guy attacked by a demon on the subway.
      Kate: Why did you pull the emergency brake?
      Delivery guy: It was an emergency?
    • Also Cordelia's high-tech alarm system.
      [Kwaini demon bursts in the door]
      Security system: Door is open.
      Cordy: Yeah, thanks!
  • Destination Defenestration: Angel once again tosses a demon through his office window.
    Security system: The window is open.
  • Dirty Cop: Trevor, aiding the drug dealers.
  • Double Entendre: Liam's father is throwing him out of the house.
    Father: Whoíll take you in, huh? No one!
    Liam: Iíll not lack for a place to sleep, I can tell you that.
  • Fantastic Drug: A yellow-ish liquid is driving normally peaceful demons into a frenzy.
    Wesley: Well, itís difficult to say under these primitive conditions—but what I can tell you is itís synthetic. It seems to contain properties not unlike street PCP, though more metaphysical in nature of course. I did identify Eye of Newt as one of the ingredients, but one suspects added chiefly for taste, rather than kick.
  • Futureshadowing: The newly risen Vampire!Liam mentions his little sister Kathy believed he had come back to her "an angel."
  • Freudian Excuse: What Liam/Angelus thinks he has.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Liam was just a jobless, drunken, 18th-century Eurotrash lout before Darla sired him.
  • Get Out: Kate, crying over her father's body, rejects Angel's attempts to explain what happened.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: His crooked cohorts ask Trevor if he's told his daughter about his dealings with them. Trevor is smart enough to realize where this conversation is going and reaches for a hidden gun, not realizing he's dealing with two vampires.
  • The Hedonist: Liam
  • He Knows Too Much: Trevor Lockley's fate, after he starts asking a few too many questions about his associates.
  • Hobos: The Kwaini are a peaceful species of demons who dress up in wool clothes and hats, causing several passerby to mistake them for hobos.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Wesley pompously says that women are even less prepared to deal with the dark demon underbelly of society, only to see Cordelia enthusiastically preparing to hacksaw apart a dead Kwaini demon.
  • Immune to Bullets: The vampires are hurt by Kate's bullets, which she uses to set one up for staking, but their demon leader barely flinches.
  • Ironic Echo: Angel warns Kate never to trust an evil thing. She doesn't.
  • Juggle Fu: Angel throws his fighting axe up in the air, stakes two vampires who come at him from opposite sides, then catches the axe, which he uses to decapitate the head demon.
  • Large and in Charge: The demon boss
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Inverted—a theme of the episode is that people can suffer terrible consequences from a wrong decision. Case in point: Trevor gets involved with drug dealers knowing exactly what they're up to, but that doesn't mean he deserves to die at the hands of vampires.
  • Meaningful Echo: The inscription on Liam's gravestone reads BELOVED SON, that on Trevor Lockley's reads BELOVED FATHER.
  • Must Be Invited:
    • After he was first made a vampire, Liam (not yet Angelus) tricked his own baby sister into inviting him in on the pretense that he was an angel taking the form of her beloved dead brother. Cue aversion of Infant Immortality.
    • In the present day, Angel watches helplessly as two vampires murder Trevor Lockley, who had invited them in earlier but refused to invite Angel in because he knew violence was about to ensue and assumed Angel was an Innocent Bystander. Angel unsuccessfully tries to deter the vampires by saying he'll kill them the moment Trevor dies and he can enter.
  • Nameless Narrative: Neither the demon nor his henchvamps are named in episode or scripts. The demon is referred as "Head Demon Guy", while the leading vamps are "Vamp 1" and "Vamp 2."
  • One-Gender Race: The Kwaini are an all-female species of demon.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner
    Head Demon Guy: You're dead!
    Angel: Iím already dead. [beheads the demon] Welcome to the club.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Kate and Angel, in response to Trevor's murder.
  • Rockstar Parking: Lampshaded by Cordelia when she mentions the difficulty of trying to find a parking space while tailing someone.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Liam makes the murder of his family the capstone of his run of terror on his village.
  • Ship Sinking: The death of Kate's father at the fangs of vampires kills off what little romantic potential she has with Angel after discovering his vampire nature in "Somnabulist".
  • Suspect Is Hatless: When interviewing witnesses to a demon assault on the subway, the best Kate can glean from them is suspect is of "average" height, "average" build, and "average" weight. Well, that was helpful.
  • Talk About That Thing: Kate doesn't like using the word "demon" inside the police station, and tells Angel to call it an "evil thing". Hilarity Ensues.
    Angel: Itís just that the ah, Evil Thing—turns out it wasnít an evil Thing.
    Kate: The evil thing wasnít an Evil Thing?
    Angel: Well, it was an Evil Thing in terms of that word. It just wasnít an evil Evil Thing.
    Kate: There are Not Evil Evil Things?
    Angel: Wellóyeah.
  • Time for Plan B: Angel is arming himself to the teeth—throwing star, knife at his waist, knife at his ankle, arm sheath stakes.
    Wesley: What happened to calmly, cautiously, and deliberately investigating before rushing in?
    Angel: That was Plan A. Weíve since moved on to Plan B.
    Wesley: And Plan B is?
    Angel: [twirling his axe] Do I really have to explain it to you, Wesley?
  • Tradesnarkô: As Wesley is reading aloud from the owner's manual for Cordy's new security system, he actually recites the "TM" at the end.
  • Tough Love: What Liam's father seems to have been going for; he spends all his time telling his son he's useless and not a real man, and that if he leaves now he can never come back... And only realizes when Liam tells him to get out of the way that, well, it didn't really work the way it was supposed to.
  • Unusual Euphemism: When Kate says she's not dating Angel, her father asks if it's because he's from "West Hollywood" (the term for LA's famous Gayborhood).
  • Vertical Kidnapping: Off-screen; Angel pulls a Kwaini demon out of the top vent of the subway train.
  • Wall of Weapons: Angel keeps an assortment of blades in a cabinet. After Trevor's death he pulls many of them out in a Lock and Load Montage.
  • Weirdness Censor: It's not just in Sunnydale; the subway passengers all give deliberately vague descriptions of the demon.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: To Liam's confrontations with his father in 1753 Ireland, and the murder of his family as a vampire.
  • Welcome to My World: Darla's first words to Liam following his "rebirth" as a vamp.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Lampshaded by Darla when Liam thinks he's "won" by killing his father.
    Darla: Your victory over him took but moments. But his defeat of you will last lifetimes.
    Angel: What are you talking about? He canít defeat me now.
    Darla: Nor can he ever approve of you—in this world or any other.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Darla asks a newly-risen Angelus who in his village he intends to kill first. Angelus replies, "I thought I'd take the village."
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With
    Head Demon Guy: Do you know what walks this city? [Kate shoots him four times; he barely flinches] You have no comprehension! You do not understand what stands before you!
    Angel: [Axe Twirling Walk-In Chime-In] A big, ugly drug-running demon, who thinks he is a lot scarier than he is, maybe? Yeah. She knows.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Wesley calls what he is doing to the pieces of dead demon a "vivisection." Really hope not.
  • You Remind Me of X: Angel watches Kate Lockley, with her Buffy-like hairstyle, in the cemetery.
  • You're Not My Type: Kate's father suggests the possibility of Kate and Angel getting together. Kate responded, "He's not my type. Or I'm not his. There's definitely a type involved, and it's the wrong one."