Lindsey approaches Spike in the guise of Doyle, encouraging him to replace Angel as the champion of the
. Meanwhile Angel is trapped in a hallucinogenic coma.
- Anxiety Dreams / Always Second Best: Angel's dreams play on his fear after the events of "Destiny" that Spike is better than him.
- Bait and Switch: The Teaser appears to feature Angel in trouble again, but it's actually a replay of the fight in "Destiny" shot from a different angle.
- Bedmate Reveal: Spuffy
- Body Double: An obvious stand-in is used for Buffy, with her voice dubbed with dialogue from BtVS "The Prom".
- Book Dumb
Wesley: What is your plan?
: (rolls her eyes) It's Matchabelli
, Einstein; and it doesn't come in a can.
- Brick Joke: Angel's heart really is a dried-up walnut ("The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco").
- Call Back: Plenty to "City Of", plus...
- Spike adopts the Crucified Hero Shot he had in "Chosen", only this time Angel burns up instead.
- Spike hitting on chicks while vampire-hunting resembles his Not a Date with Buffy in "Crush".
- In Angel's dream world he becomes the Wolfram and Hart mailman, just like Numero Cinco.
- Fred treats Spike like he's the hero from a fairy tale, just like she did Angel after her rescue from Pylea.
- Catapult Nightmare: Angel waking up from his first dream, in which he burns up after Spike wins the Cup of Perpetual Torment.
- Cryptic Conversation: Spike quickly loses patience with 'Doyle' doing this.
- Daydream Surprise
- Description Cut: From Lindsey telling Spike he won't be sharing his bed with anyone, to Angel's dream where Spike and Buffy are bonking away in bed next to him.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Lindsey finds Spike hanging out in a strip club, getting drunk.
- Divide and Conquer: Gunn's plan for the demon cult — which appears to reflect Lindsey/Eve's plan for Team Angel and the Senior Partners.
- Directed by Cast Member: By David Boreanaz himself, no less.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: "There's nothing left, just a shell". Although mainly referring to Angel it was likely also a reference to Fred becoming a host for Illyria several episodes later in "Shells".
- Gunn growls like a cat in another dream scene. In "A Hole In The World" the White Room's panther conduit is gone, replaced by an evil Gunn Doppelgänger.
- Everything but the Girl: Lampshaded by Lindsey when he points out that the spartan life of The Hero doesn't leave much room for romance.
Spike: (points to the old-fashioned single bed) You call that a bed?
Lindsey: Well, it's not like you're gonna be sharing it with anyone any time soon.
- Everything's Weirder with Bears: A bear appears in the Fred-surgery dream for no reason that Angel can comprehend.
- Exact Words
Eve: I'm getting a lot of heat on this. And when I say heat, I mean actual flames under my feet. The Senior Partners are a tad impatient.
- Emerging from the Shadows: Spike doing his first Big Damn Heroes.
- Famous Last Words: The first vampire Spike kills gets out "You just made the biggest mistake of your life!"
- Good Is Not Nice: Spike's treatment of a Damsel in Distress could use some work.
Woman in alley: Thank you! Thank you! That thing was going to kill me!
Well, what did you expect? Out alone in this neighborhood — I've got half a mind to kill you myself, you half-wit.
Woman in alley: What?
Woman in alley: [annoyed] I was just trying to get home.
Spike: Well, get a cab, you moron, and on the way, if a stranger offers you candy, don't get in the van!
- Grey and Gray Morality / Never Say That Again
Gunn: See, a cult this big has alliances, connections. If we confront them directly, it could be very bad for business.
Wesley: But if we eliminate their leader covertly...
Gunn: ...then they spend the next billing cycle fighting among themselves to hack out the new pecking order.
Angel: Uh-huh... So are we doing this because it's right... or because it's cost-effective?
Gunn: Uh, well, a little of both actually.
Wesley: Yes, oddly, once again we find ourselves in a bit of a gray—
Angel: ...say that! Can we just get through one damn day without saying that?
- A House Divided: Wesley and Gunn are starting to act behind Angel's back. At first this is presented as simply allowing their boss to get some much-needed rest, but then they approach Spike about working for them as a Champion, and he quickly realises that Angel didn't send them.
- Hellish Pupils: Cat!Gunn
- Heroic BSOD
- Heroic Self-Deprecation
Team Spike: Speech, speech, speech, speech!
(smiling modestly) Well, this is, uh... Thank you, everyone. Um...I don't know what to say. (laughter all around) I'm just a... working-class bloke fulfilling his destiny. It was nothing, really.
Fred: Nothing? Spike, you single-handedly ended Armageddon and turned the world into a beautiful, happily-ever-after, candy mountain place where all our dreams come true!
- Hospital Hottie: All right — who didn't think Fred was going to do something kinky when she snapped on those latex gloves?
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Dream!Angel slinks off crestfallen when Spike becomes a "real boy" instead of him.
- Inherent in the System
Fred: We didn't sell out. We're changing the system from the inside.
Gunn: You know, when you say it out loud, it sounds really naive.
- Kill 'em All: Angel is tempted to use their corporate Death Ray to just wipe out the bad guys rather than continue with all this moral ambiguity foreshadowing The Purge of the Circle of the Black Thorn in the Grand Finale.
- Kill Sat
Fred: Well, we do have an orbital-range microwave cannon up there. Focuses the satellite's communications signals into a pinpoint beam. It can raise the temperature of the targeted area 1,000 degrees in less than 5 seconds. So, yeah, in theory, we could. That is, if we did that sort of thing. (to Angel) Do we do that sort of thing?
Wesley: It might be the thing to do.
: Think someone won't notice us firing a sci-fi death ray
from outer space?
Fred: Well, actually, the beam reads like cell phone static on most atmospheric scanning equipment.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: In the final dream Team Angel encourage him to rest and give up his struggle.
- Last-Second Word Swap: Lindsey tells Spike that he's not the man he used to be — Spike just saved someone's life when it didn't benefit him, as opposed to the Anti-Hero who only did good deeds to impress (Death Glare from Spike) ...women.
- Mistaken for Gay: Lindsey when he first approaches Spike.
- Not Himself
- Nothing Up My Sleeve / Dual Wielding: Spike uses Angel's wrist-stakes and quite likes them.
- "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: Unfortunately it's only a Not Wearing Shoes dream.
- Reference Overdosed: Loads of cultural references (see Wikipedia for details).
- Rescue Sex: Team Angel receive a report of a certain ensouled vampire saving damsels in alleys, and then asking if they'd like to "have a few drinks and listen to some Sex Pistols?"
- Rule of Symbolism: Angel's dreams.
- Rule Of Threes: Spike's final Big Damn Heroes moment is saving Angel.
- Save the Day, Turn Away
- Schrödinger's Butterfly
- Shoot the Money: There were two main props of the leech, one crafted out of a spongy material with some slime on it and another that had full animatronics and cost them $85,000. David Boreanaz resorted to filming as little of the costly prop as possible because he felt it was too goofy looking and the cheaper sponge prop actually worked better. He wouldn't have used it at all if it wasn't for the fact it cost $85,000.
- Shout-Out: Fred pulls out a car's license plate from Angel's belly.
- Sick Episode
- Slow Motion / Spin Attack: Spike's cool spinning kicks in his second Big Damn Heroes moment.
- Talking in Your Dreams: When Angel appears to fight off the effects of the bug, Eve appears holding an even bigger one. After being saved by Spike, Angel accuses her of being behind it all, citing the fact that Eve is wearing the same earrings as in his dream. Eve scoffs at this until Fred points out this is the first time she's been seen wearing them.
- Twisted Echo Cut
Lindsey: (to Spike) You got your life back now. What are you gonna do about it?
(Cut to Wesley and Gunn are having a heated discussion.)
Wesley: I say we make a pre-emptive strike.
Angel: (to Wes and Gunn) OK. Explain it to me again.
Spike: (walking out on Lindsey) I've heard enough.
- Vampires Are Rich: Averted — Spike gripes about becoming a Basement-Dweller again. Lindsey pointed says that an eternal being like him would surely have put some money aside...
- Who Are You?: Spike saves a couple from vampires.
Woman: Wait. Who are you?
(without turning to face them, hangs his head, then softly) I'm The Hero
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The parasite would have put Angel in a permanent coma if Lindsey hadn't tipped off Spike — he's just as interested in humiliating his rival as deposing him.
- Written-In Infirmity: Angel is confined to bed by a nightmare-demon-parasite thing, then turned into a puppet four episodes later in "Smile Time" as David Boreanaz recovered from knee surgery. Even still, they framed several episodes to have Angel constantly sitting in his chair or otherwise leaning against his desk just to give David a break. Unable to stand or walk much, Boreanaz contributed by directing this episode, his first TV director's credit.
- Although Joss Whedon maintains he wanted to kill off an "opening credits" character early in the first season from the beginning the decision for it to be Doyle was made due to the actor's ongoing problems with drugs making him impossible to work with. He was going to be written into the last season (according to fifth season DVD commentaries), but due to the actor's death, the role was rewritten to bring back another fan favorite Lindsey instead, who uses the original character's name as a disguise.