Angel must gain the trust of a family, one of whom is possessed by a demon.
Tropes in this episode include:
- And I Must Scream: The Ethros demon is unable to control Ryan, except while asleep, and is trapped in his body until Angel and Wesley exorcise him, as the boy has no soul to corrupt.
- Actually Pretty Funny: When Angel is adamant that Wesley cannot do the ritual, Wes tosses a crucifix at him and suggests that he do it himself. Despite the cross burning him, Angel's reaction is along the lines of, "Yeah, that was cool enough for me to think of."
- Awesome, but Impractical: Wesley's knife for killing a species of demon that is now extinct. Cordy uses it to cut up her brownies.
- Ax-Crazy: Ryan is one disturbed little kid.
- Badass Boast: The Ethros demon gives one to Angel and Wes, right before he reveals that he's a Death Seeker and Ryan is the true monster.Ethros demon: You are a fool. You think to destroy me? Youre dealing with forces beyond your comprehension. [...] I am Ethros. I corrupted the spirits of men before they had speech to name me. The child was but the last among tens of thousands, one more pure heart to corrupt, one more soul to suck dry.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Wesley mentions Lizzie Borden, the famous Massachusetts woman accused of butchering her parents with an axe. She, too, was possessed by an Ethros demon. Angel notes ominously that the demon possessing Borden was only an adolescent.
- Big Damn Heroes: Angel crashes through the window to save Stephanie as her room burns.
- Buffy Speak: When Seth says the roast was a little dry, Angel assures him it was full of "roasty goodness."
- Cat Scare: Involving an actual cat.
- Creepy Child: The child is already psychotic, and the demon is trapped inside as he has no soul to corrupt.
- Death Seeker: The Ethros demon, after being trapped in Ryan's body for so long, unable to control it.
- Description Cut: Wesley says that if a possessed person eats eucalipsis powder, the demon within is forced to reveal himself. Cordy asks how Angel is supposed to get the Anderson family to eat the powder. Cut to Angel knocking on the Andersons' door with a plate of brownies.
- Demonic Possession: Ryan, the Andersons' son, is possessed by a type of demon known for such activity—but that's not his biggest problem.
- Detect Evil: The elderly nun is able to sense Angel's true nature, though she stays fairly calm about it.Nun: How can I... [sees Angel] You would come into a place of worship?Angel: ...I'm not what you think.Nun: No? [tries to touch Angel's hand with her rosary; he pulls away]Angel: Okay, yeah, I am.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Ryan tries to burn his sister alive because she got two more marshmallows than him.
- Diving Save: Angel, saving Ryan from being overrun by a car.
- Enfant Terrible: Ryan is possessed by a demon and doing horrible things. They exorcise the demon but find out from the demon (who begged to be killed) that it was Ryan himself who didn't have a soul to begin with, and that the demon had been trapped.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Ethros demon was terrified of Ryan, so much that he was willing to kill himself just to escape from him.
- Evil All Along: Ryan himself, possessing demon or no.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The Ethros demon after he is exposed.
- Face Death with Dignity: The Ethros demon, newly corporealized, doesn't try and fight Angel and Wes when they find him. He explains that Ryan is evil, and when Angel declares that they need to stop him, the demon quietly agrees and allows Angel to kill him without complaint.
- Freudian Slip: When Wes and Cordy start bickering, Angel accidentally tells "Cordelia, Doyle" to stop.
- Fridge Logic: If the Ethros demon wanted out of Ryan, why did it fight against the exorcism ritual? Since it's revealed that the demon never even manifested until Angel forced him to, Ryan presumably never had access to all the Ethros's mind-reading and psychic abilities, not to mention that he would have had no reason to fight to continue the possession.
- Ghost Butler: The demon slams the door on Cordy and Seth from across the room so it can strangle Paige.
- Good All Along: It's a bit of a stretch to say that the Ethros was good, but he's not the villain in the episode, and he even insists that Angel and Wes hurry to save the Anderson's before accepting his assassination peacefully.
- Hannibal Lecture: The demon uses Wesley's feeling of inadequacy to distract him from the exorcism ritual.Ethros demon: All those hours locked up under the stairs and you still werent good enough. Not good enough for Daddy, not good enough for the Council.
- Healing Factor: Paige is shocked to find Angel's cut has healed since she went to get bandages.
- Holy Burns Evil: Angel can't carry out the exorcism as he can't hold holy objects, but when Wes is unable to do so, he wraps up his hand, grabs the required items, and completes the ritual despite the pain.
- Honest John's Dealership: The only way to contain an Ethros demon is to trap it in a rare Ethros Box. Angel gives Cordelia the address of a shop he knows downtown, Rick's Magick & Stuff; Rick, however, does not have a box carved by "blind Tibetan monks," so Cordy instead buys a cheaper Shorshack Box made by "mute Chinese nuns." Rick warns her it might be a little "tight across the shoulders" for the Ethros (oh boy, this'll be fun). Predictably, the box bursts into splinters when Angel and Wesley exorcise the demon into it.
- A House Divided: The demon tells Angel that Wesley is planning to kill him. Later Wesley tries to assure Angel that it isn't true, but Angel says it's OK; he knows Wesley is prepared to kill him, which is a good thing if Angelus returns.
- Hyper-Awareness: The nun is somehow able to sense that Angel isn't human.
- Layman's Terms: Angel describes where they might find an embodied Ethros demon. Wesley translates.Angel: Hell be looking for a hostile environment—somewhere damp. Probably returning to primordial volcanic basalt for his regeneration.
Wesley: Sea caves.
Cordy: Why didnt he just say that?
- Lethal Chef: Cordy's brownies. In a Funny Background Event, the Anderson daughter hides hers under her napkin after trying it.
- Mr. Smith: Angel introduces himself to the Andersons, realizes he has to make up a last name, and says his name is "Angel Jones."
- Mundane Utility: Wesley shows Angel a Kek dagger, which is the only weapon capable of killing a Kek demon. Angel informs him that Kek demons are in fact extinct. Then Cordelia grabs the dagger to cut brownies.
- My Greatest Second Chance: According to Tim Minear, Angel saving Wesley is him atoning for Doyle's death.
- Neurodiversity Is Supernatural: Subverted. Ryan was psychotic before the demon possessed him and in fact wasn't at all affected by it, but the demon does say that Ryan has no soul.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Angel saving Ryan, who has no soul, and the Ethros demon inside him, from being hit by a car.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The Ethros demon was utterly terrified of Ryan because of his lack of a soul.
- Now You Tell Me: Wesley brings a vial of green glowing liquid back to the office. Cordelia can't help but admire it.Cordy: [picks up the vial] What is this stuff anyway? Kind of pretty!
Wesley: Uh, its the bodily excretion of an Ethros demon.
Cordy: [puts the vial down and folds her hands] No one could have said "demon poo" before I touched it?
- Oh, Crap!: When Angel and Wes find that the only priest qualified to do the exorcism has been killed performing that exact ritual. When the Ethros destroys the box meant to hold him when exorcised. When Angel and Wes realise Ryan is the evil one, and is now alone with his family.
- Pity the Kidnapper: After discovering that Ryan is possessed by a demon, Angel Investigations exorcises it and then tracks its physical form down to kill it... a fate the demon welcomes, as Ryan was so evil by himself that the demon found himself trapped in a hellish mindscape for years.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The demon-possessed Ryan "sleepwalks" into the middle of traffic, almost getting killed before Angel tackles him out of a car's path. The demon later confesses that he would have also died had the car struck. By leaping into a body of a remorseless child, the Ethros had unwittingly trapped itself forever, with death as the only escape.
- Red Herring: The opening half has Angel suspecting the wrong man of being possessed. In the end the demon reveals that the child was born with no soul, and the demon had been the boy's prisoner while the child did the horrible things.
- Saying Too Much: Wes says that a father doesn't have to be possessed by a demon to terrorize his children, then realises he's given away too much about himself.
- So Much for Stealth: Wesley accidentally pokes a talking doll while looking through the Andersons' garbage bin. Fortunately, he's not caught.
- Super Window Jump: Angel pulling a Big Damn Heroes at the end.
- The Sociopath: Ryan, due to the fact that he is The Soulless.
- Taking You with Me: The demon is intent on killing its host, even if it means that he'll die as well.
- Titled After the Song
- To Absent Friends: Angel inadvertently calls Wesley "Doyle" when he starts bickering with Cordy. Realising he is still grieving, Cordy gets Angel to open up about his feelings. Later the demon tries to use these feelings of guilt against Angel.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Only after taking possession of Ryan does the Ethros demon realize the child "has no soul." The demon is trapped inside Ryan and despairs at the feeling of "nothing" in the boy.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Ryan Anderson's reaction to Angel shoving him out of the path of a speeding car. Noticing the bloody scrape on Angel's shoulder, Ryan, who seems completely unfazed by his brush with death, asks Angel if he's going to cry. This is an early sign that this kid belongs in a padded room.
- Voice Changeling: The Ethros demon possessing Ryan displays this ability. It taunts Wesley in a voice identical to his own, reminding him of his unceremonious sacking from the Watcher's Council; then it strikes out at Angel by channeling Doyle's voice, playing on Angel's guilt.
- Weak-Willed: Angel tells Wes he can't carry out the ritual as he's too open to suggestion. "How many Thighmasters do you own?"
- Weapon Twirling: Angel twirls the axe he uses on the Ethros demon.
- Wham Line: When Angel and Wesley prepare to kill the demon.Wesley: You didnt get that boys soul
Ethros: Hmpf, what soul?