Angel buys tickets to the ballet for the Fang Gang, but discovers the performers are the same people he saw back in 1890.
- After-Action Patch-Up: Fred patches up Gunn after he's injured, resulting in their First Kiss.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The medallion worn on Count Kurskov's chest — Angel smashes it to break the spell.
- An Axe to Grind: Uncle Lorne protecting Connor.
- At the Opera Tonight: Not the opera but the ballet.
- Anywhere but Their Lips: While Kissing Under the Influence, Angel removes Cordy's dress and kisses his way down to her navel.
- Big Eater: Fred despite being so thin.
- Bond Breaker: Heartbroken over Fred's rejection, Wesley starts to withdraw emotionally from his friends, which will have serious consequences.
- Bond One-Liner: Wesley runs through a Comedy minion with his sword.
- Breather Episode: Between the baby Connor arc and the upcoming war with Holtz
- Brick Joke:
- Cordelia wakes up after falling asleep on Angel's shoulder and asks if she drooled on him. Angel replies, "It matches the back." (where Connor drooled on him earlier)
- Angel gripes about how he couldn't get a box seat like in the old days. Later when he goes to take on the Count, Angel says, "I bet he's got a box seat!"
- Buffy Speak: Angel tells the others to enjoy the performance while he snoops around a little. Cordelia says, "I'm with Snoopy."
- The Bus Came Back: Groo has been deposed as ruler of Pylea, so has come searching for Cordelia, his One True Love.
- Call Back: When Angel and Cordelia are discussing going back into the dressing room to become possessed by the spirits again Angel says "Look I've been possessed by the spirits of old lovers before, it never ends well." This is a reference to the Buffy episode "I Only Have Eyes For You", where Angelus and Buffy were possessed by the ghosts of two lovers. Earlier Cordelia kids Wesley about how he only had eyes for her in Sunnydale, referring to their courtship in BTVS Season 3.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Wesley is 'waiting for the right moment' to tell Fred his feelings, unaware that Fred is gravitating towards Gunn. Likewise Angel is stumbling his way through what may or may not be a Love Confession when Groo shows up.
- The Cast Showoff: The ballet episode originally conceived as an excuse for Whedon to utilize Amy Acker's dancing talent. The only scene that required her to dance was cut from the episode for pacing reasons. It did, however, allow him to display former ballerina Summer Glau's dancing talents — and her knack for accents.
- Summer Glau is arguably a subversion — "Waiting in the Wings" was the very first acting role that she ever took, so when Joss hired her, she wasn't so much an actor who could also dance as a dancer who could also act. In hindsight, however, it becomes a straight example.
- Close Up On Head: Fred appears to be naked in one scene, only to be revealed to be wearing a strapless dress.
- Comically Small Bribe / Mundane Solution: Angel suggests knocking out the security guard. Cordelia suggests a more subtle solution. Description Cut to Cordy saying...
Cordy: "Hey! Do you like bribes?"
Guard: (smiling) "Do I ever."
Cordy: (holds up a bill) "Well, we really wanna go backstage."
Guard: "Yeah, okay, but this isn't so much a bribe as it is a tip. And since I'm not parking your car, there's really no way that—"
(The guard is handing the bill back to Cordy when he is knocked out by a sudden cross from Angel.)
Angel: "Okay. That's how we do it."
- Composite Character: The prima ballerina's story echoes that of two heroines from famous ballets. Giselle (which is also the ballet she is performing) is in a love triangle with the man she loves and a man who feels he's entitled to have her. And Odette from Swan Lake - a maiden cursed by an evil sorcerer to go through an endless cycle over and over again.
- Creator In-Joke: Mata Hari, the band Gunn originally thinks they're going to see, is a band Joss Whedon's brother is in.
- Deadpan Snarker
Wes: "How will the dancers keep time without your rhythmic snoring?"
Cordy: "Don't think that's not coming back to haunt you."
- Delicious Distraction: The Fang Gang wonder how the ballet company is the same as the one Angel saw over a hundred years ago.
Cordy: "Well, it's a puzzler. [beat] Are there snacks?"
- Deleted Scene: The fantasy ballet sequence between Fred and Wesley, available on the DVD.
- Description Cut: When Cordelia and Fred are shopping for dresses to go to the ballet, Cordelia makes a sarcastic comment to the effect of, "Oh, right. Angel's gonna spend the whole day worrying about his outfit." Cut to Angel worrying about his tux, which baby Connor had just spit upon.
- Despair Speech
Angel: "A hundred years, doing the same piece, every night. Is that enough? What about Stephan?"
Ballerina: "I waited too long. I should have gone when he asked me, should have disappeared, but...I wanted this. This dance, this... I hesitated and... I lost everything that mattered. Now all I do is wait."
Angel: "You dance."
Ballerina: "There is a section in the first act, during the courtship dance, where...my foot slips. My ankle's turned and...and I don't quite hold...every time. (Glances at the Count) He doesn't notice. He doesn't even know ballet that well. But always, at that same moment, I slip. It isn't just the same ballet. (Looks at Angel) It's the same performance. I don't dance. I echo. Please...can you make it stop?"
- Dream Ballet / Sucks At Dancing: In the Deleted Scene Wesley imagines himself ballet dancing (ineptly) up stage with a graceful Fred.
- Endless Corridor: Backstage in the theatre.
- Everyone Can See It: Lorne too notices the Kyrumption between Angel and Cordelia.
"Okay. When two great heroes come together—" Angel:
"There will be no coming together
- Exact Words: The count promises the ballet will be "the performance of a lifetime". It's literally the only performance the ballerina is allowed to make, and she's been doing it for 110 years.
- Fake Russian / Retroactive Recognition: Summer Glau in her first acting performance. She would later go on to other Joss Whedon productions like Firefly and Dollhouse.
- Forced into Their Sunday Best / Promise Me You Won't X: Gunn makes Fred promise not to laugh when he comes out in a tux. He does so and looks gorgeous, causing Fred to break out into nervous giggles.
- Geeky Turn-On
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: After Angel and Cordy come out of the dressing room where they were making out, Cordy mentions she's glad there are no lasting effects. Angel agrees, as he takes off his tux jacket and holds it in front of himself.
- Give Me a Sword / Sword Fight: Fred takes the rapier off a dead mook and tosses it to Wes so he can duel another mook.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Count Kurskov discovered the ballerina he was obsessed with was in love with another man, so he had the theatre company trapped in a temporal fold so she would be forced to dance for him forever. Wesley realises this when he walks into a psychic hotspot after seeing Fred kiss Gunn. Later Wes tells Fred and Gunn to stay behind him while he swordfights the minions.
Cordy: "I hope you're in a killing mood."
Wes: (darkly) "I should do alright."
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: The ballerina is trapped in a temporal fold, doomed to perform the exact same dance she did back in 1890 (even down to a minor stumble). Realizing the wizard's power is weakening, Angel gets her to break the spell by dancing her own steps.
- Hands Play in Theater: Wes and Gunn are sitting on either side of Fred during the performance. Each of them slowly reach over to touch her (leading either to a startled Fred or a hilarious accidental-gay joke) when Fred suddenly says that Angel and Cordy have been gone too long and they'd better go look for them.
- Held Gaze: Fred and Gunn at the end, watched by a sad Wesley.
- Holy Burns Evil: Angel and Cordelia are snapped out of Kissing Under the Influence when the cross necklace Cordelia has picked up burns Angel. Cordy suggests going back in the room to find out more information, but Angel worries that things might get too intimate. Cordy says the cross will protect her, but it drops unnoticed to the floor once they start making out again.
- Hydra Problem: Every time a lackey is killed, they split into two live lackeys. However every time this happens the spell weakens as the Count has to keep control of an increasing number of lackeys.
- I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Gunn is angry that Angel got them ballet tickets, instead of tickets to a hip-hop concert. He's almost weeping with joy by the first intermission.
Gunn: I was cool before I met y'all.
- Improvised Weapon: Angel is choking Tragedy Minion while Cordy is throwing everything she can get her hands on at Comedy Minion who's trying to run her through with a sword. Finally all she's got to brandish is a fly whisk, so she shouts, "A little help here!" Just then Tragedy shoves a stiletto into Angel's chest. Angel thanks him, pulls out the stiletto and uses it to kill Comedy minion.
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: Angel kills two lackeys simultaneously, stabbing one while killing the other with a dagger thrown Offhand Backhand. As the lackeys interrupted them as they were about to have sex, Cordelia says they've got to get out of there immediately. "You just looked really hot doing that."
- Interrupted Declaration of Love: Apparently Angel to Cordelia.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Angel is working his mouth down south on Cordy's hot body.
Cordelia: (moaning) Oh no, oh no... (minions burst in) Oh thank God!
- Intimate Open Shirt: When Angel and Cordelia are having their moment on the couch.
- It Doesn't Mean Anything / It Meant Something to Me
Hey...it's awkward, but it's not us
. So long as nothing is removed or...inserted
it's all forgotten."
Angel: "It is us, Cordelia. It's you and me. Kissing you, it's... It's not something I can just..."
"Oh, come on. It's not that
horrible. (Turns to walk down the hall) Up to his ass in demon gore
— fine! But ask him to mack on a hottie and he wigs. (Turns back to indicate Angel) My champion, ladies and gentlemen."
- Last Kiss: Gunn jokes about this trope after being wounded. Fred is not amused because watching him get stabbed was her Love Epiphany. However they deliberately act out such a scene moments later for their First Kiss.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again
"You know, we should probably just not talk about...our little adventure. Anything that might have been seen, anything that might have been, oh (lets out a laugh) perky
"I just wanna pretend it never happened." Cordy:
"Wipe it from my memory." Cordy:
"What? Was it, like, disgusting?" Angel:
"No! I, ah... I would, I would just want... If we were to... I would just want it to be...new. Start at the beginning." Cordy:
(shaking her head) "Lost me in the middle."
- Looks Like She Is Enjoying It
Gunn: "Hear that? Sounds like someone's in pain."
Fred: "Either that or someone's in fun..."
- Malevolent Masked Men: Count Kurskov's sword-wielding lackeys wear Tragedy or Comedy drama masks, and giggle or sob accordingly.
- Multiboobage: Sorialus the Ravager.
- Neck Snap: Angel does a dual version with a lackey under each arm!
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Cordelia thinks Fred is referring to Wesley, when she's actually talking about being attracted to Gunn.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Gunn laughs off his backstabbing as "Only a scratch."
- Nightmare Fetishist: Spoofed when Wesley appears to be raving over a woodcut of a six-breasted she-demon, but he's actually going on about Fred.
- One-Scene Wonder: Summer Glau as the ballerina only speaks in one scene.
Cordy: "There will be no visions tonight."
Angel: "How can you be sure?"
Cordy: "I had a vision."
- Raging Stiffie: Angel and Cordelia are trying to get out of the ballerina's dressing room while Kissing Under the Influence.
Cordelia: Open the door!
Angel: Kinda hard.
Cordelia: Kinda noticed.
- And then when they finally get out...
Cordelia: Good thing it wears off right away, huh?
Angel: Yeah. (Takes off jacket and folds it in front of his pants)
- Relationship Upgrade: Fred/Gunn
- Saying Too Much
Angel: "Don't be stupid. I'm that guy and the most beautiful girl I've ever seen is making eyes at me? It's either bachelor party or a scam."
Cordy: "What did you just call me?"
Angel: "I'm sorry. You're not stupid."
Cordy: "No. After that."
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Pretty much the point of the episode. Cordelia gets this, with Angel and Lorne going nearly non-verbal when they see her in her gown. Fred is downplayed and the focus is more on Gunn cleaning up nicely - but she still draws the reactions from him and Wesley.
- Shipper on Deck: Lorne for Angel/Cordelia and Cordelia for Fred/Wesley.
- Show Some Leg: Averted with the overweight security guard.
Cordelia: You want I should distract him? Make with the nice-nice while you slip by?
Angel: Don't be stupid. I'm that guy, and the most beautiful woman I've ever seen is making eyes at me? It's either a bachelor party or a scam.
- Sword Drag: Wesley staggers off after seeing Fred kiss Gunn.
- Too Much Information: Angel mutters that he used to get box seats, "or I'd eat the people in them." Cordelia tells him to stop with the reminiscing. Also:
Fred: "Oh. Okay. I'm very excited about tonight. I love the ballet! I mean, I haven't seen that much, but my family used to go to the Nutcracker every Christmas, and I had my first sexual dream about the Mouse King."
- That Came Out Wrong: "The best action I can get is an invisible ghost who's good with the Loohfah." Gentleman that he is, Wesley states that he never heard that comment by Cordelia.
- Unusual Euphemism:
: Cordelia is a hell of a lady. I mean, if I thought she'd like to wear green
, I'd be elbowing you out of the way.
- Verbal Tic: Lorne refers to Angel as 'crumb cake', 'corn muffin', 'strudel', and 'cinnamon buns', causing an irritated Angel to ask him to "Stop calling me pastries!"
- Violently Protective Girl Friend: Fred goes berserk on the Tragedy minion who backstabs Gunn. No wonder he was sobbing.
- White Shirt of Death: Gunn after being stabbed In the Back.
- Wicked Cultured
Angel: I saw their production of "Giselle" in 1890. I cried like a baby — and I was evil!
- Subverted with Count Kurskov. he doesn't even know ballet that well, and fails to notice the mistake the ballerina makes in every performance.
- You Remind Me of X: In reference to Cordy, Lorne kids Angel about his liking for ex-cheerleaders. Nice one, Lorne — you've just reminded Angel of his last disastrous affair with a human girl.