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Recap / Angel S01E04 "I Fall to Pieces"

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Angel tries to protect a woman from her stalker, an eye surgeon who can detach parts of his body and control them at a distance.


  • Backhanded Compliment:
    Cordelia: You're a lot smarter than you look. 'Course you look like a retard.
  • Blatant Lies:
    Cordelia: What was that?
    Doyle: [hands her a weapon] Just the wind.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: After injecting Angel with a paralytic intended for large animals, Meltzer walks away and leaves him in his office, not bothering to make sure the poison actually kills him. Justified; Angel wouldn't have survived it if he was human, and Meltzer doesn't know he's a vampire.
  • Broken Bird: Melissa. Kate points out to Angel that putting Meltzer away won't be enough to help her get over that, and she'll need to find the strength to stop being afraid of him. She does.
  • Detachment Combat: Meltzer spits his teeth at Angel and launches his hands around the room.
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  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Doyle is busy duct-taping Angel's basement to protect against Dr. Meltzer's disassembling body parts. A pair of hands skitter up Doyle's neck—whoops, it's just Cordelia, who picked a fine time to fix Doyle's collar. This makes so little sense that it must be a wink on Joss's part.
    Doyle: Yeah, well, what say we leave it crooked until this thing is resolved?!
  • Even the Guys Want Him/Badass Longcoat/Cape Swish
    Doyle: He likes playing the hero; walking off into the dark with his long coat flowing behind him in a mysterious and attractive way.
    Cordy: Is this a private moment? Because I can leave you alone.
    Doyle: No, no, I’m not saying I’m attracted.
    [A few minutes later we get a hero shot of Angel striding out the door, his coat billowing behind.]
    Doyle: Maybe I’m a little attracted.
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  • Evil Hand/Eye Spy: Dr. Meltzer can detach all sorts of body parts.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: Kate re Wolfram & Hart: "They're the law firm Johnny Cochran was too ethical to join."
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire
    Angel: I scared her.
    Doyle: Sounds to me like she was scared to begin with.
    Angel: [pacing] Am I intimidating? I mean—do I put people off?
    Cordy: Well, as vampires go, you’re pretty cuddly. Maybe you might want to think about mixing up the black on black look.
    • Becomes somewhat of a Brick Joke a few scenes later, when Melissa calls and tells them she wants to talk. Angel makes a comment about "changing his shirt." When he meets with Melissa in the next scene, he's wearing a white one.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Doyle speculates what else Meltzer might have detached:
    Doyle: ... this guy crawling around under the covers. At least it was just his hands down there. Wish I hadn’t even thought that.
  • Hermit Guru: Vinpur became a recluse when he saw what Meltzer could do with his teachings.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Doyle has a vision and immediately asks for pen, paper and a single malt scotch.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The episode title comes from the Patsy Cline song.
  • Mad Doctor: Dr. Meltzer
  • Moral Dissonance: Angel, Cordelia and Doyle cold-bloodedly execute Meltzer in what was probably a very painful and lingering way, despite the show's usual absolute rule about not deliberately killing human villains.
  • My Card: Angel hands his real one to Melissa, and a fake one to Dr. Meltzer after making up a sob story to explain his presence in Meltzer's office. The number connects to a second phone line Angel set up for such deceptions.
  • 90% of Your Brain: Vinpur helped Meltzer increase his potential in psychic surgery. The percentage that Vinpur claims most humans use is 20%.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dr. Meltzer honed his telekinetic control over his limbs after being inspired by a book which posits that everyone is connected due to their shared molecules. Angel pays a visit to its author, who is revealed to be a thinly-veiled parody of Deepak Chopra.
  • Not Helping Your Case:
    Doyle: ... protecting young women such as yourself? Yeah, there’ve been—ah—4. And 3 of them are very much alive. [Melissa gives him a shocked look and he quickly points at a picture on her desk] Is that you?
    Melissa: Ah, yeah. Bungee jumping.
    Doyle: I’ve always meant to do that, but I intensely don’t want to, so I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
    Melissa: It’s fun. Scary.
    Doyle: You don’t seem like the thrill seeker type.
    Melissa: Well, I used to... You know, I used to do a lot of things... before.
    Doyle: Don’t you worry. When Angel is finished with this case I can guarantee you’ll be wanting to jump off a bridge again.
  • Not So Different: Angel appears to have quite an insight into Dr. Meltzer's stalking obsession. Drusilla and Buffy, anyone?
    Angel: It’s not about Melissa, it’s about rage. This guy is too messed up to deal with a real woman and he can’t stand that. So he creates a fantasy about a girl he barely knows. But eventually even she fails him. So he has to hurt her, because when he looks at her all he sees is how useless he is, how damaged...
    Cordy: Uh, what a fun date you must have been in back in your bad vamp days. On the other hand, it should give you some insight into the jerks of the world.
  • Off with His Head!: Dr. Meltzer's head goes spinning off like a bowling ball after Angel gives it a solid whack. Even Meltzer can't survive that, but Angel makes sure by burying him in separate metal boxes in a freeway construction site.
  • Perfect Poison: Justified (or maybe Hand Waved) by Dr. Meltzer injecting Angel with a paralytic intended for large animals. When used on a human, it induces heart failure. (Good thing Angel's heart doesn't beat.)
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Meltzer's hands pop right back onto his arms when he's done having them skitter around people's bedrooms.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: In the past, Meltzer's stalking led Melissa to take him to court and try to have a restraining order placed on him. Sadly, Meltzer was backed by Wolfram & Hart.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!/Walk-In Chime-In:
    Melissa: You turned yourself into a freak, Ronald, a vile, repulsive freak. And I'm done being afraid of you. You can cut me and you can kill me, but it still won't change what you are. Angel was right. You're weak!
    Ronald: I'm weak? Then how was it I killed him?
    [The door slides open behind him and he looks around at:]
    Angel: Inefficiently.
  • Stalking Is Love: Ronald believes that.
  • Stun Gun/To the Pain:
    Ronald: I developed this injector while working with animals. [Angel pulls out the dart and looks at it. It drops from his fingers] They don’t like their limbs cut off any more than we do and they can hurt you if you get to close. [Angel is gasping, his eyes wide] You’ll feel a slight sinking sensation—that’s your heart slowing down as the paralytic takes effect. Eventually it’ll stop all together.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Several of these from Doyle and Cordelia.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Cordelia wonders aloud why anyone in their right mind would try dating in L.A.
    Doyle: People need people. And people... who need people... are the luckiest peo— [Cordy glares, Doyle shuts up]
  • Weirdness Magnet: Doyle's visions are a way of getting around this; at first the stalking appears to be an ordinary police matter, but Angel points out that the Powers That Be wouldn't have sent Doyle a vision unless the supernatural was involved.
  • What Are You
  • You Look Familiar: Andy Umberger had a recurring role as the demon D'Hoffryn in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Along with a small role as an Alliance Captain in Firefly, this makes him one of six 'hat-trick' actors who have appeared in the first three Joss Whedon shows.
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