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Recap / Angel S 02 E 02 Are You Now Or Have Your Ever Been

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At Cordelia's place, Angel is explaining their new assignment: researching the Hyperion Hotel. There's no client involved, but Wes is clued in that it's personal for Angel. Flashback to 1950s: The hotel in its prime, and Angel's a guest. He's surprised by a young woman named Judy hiding in his room. Angel's about to throw her out when someone tries to pick the lock. Angel opens the door to discover a P.I. kneeling at the door. The man flashes his gun and is about to invite himself in when Angel instead slams the door into the man's nose and then shoves him into the elevator.

A salesman next door is talking to thin air as he handles a gun. A shot rings out. The hotel manager and Frank the bellhop go to check out the suicide - the third one in three months! Down in the lobby, the residents of the hotel are discussing the suicide. An older man sits apart from the debate. He hears a voice whispering to him. Within minutes, everyone is aboard the paranoia bandwagon. Angel reveals to Judy that he knew her "boyfriend" was actually a private investigator. She finally comes clean: she stole some cash from the City Trust Bank in Salina, Kansas. She was angry because the bank fired her for being part African-American.

More cutting between the present and 1952. Wesley and Cordelia find a history of murder and death leading up to the hotel's closing in 1979. Wesley deduces that something in the hotel was making people crazy, something which Angel also begins to suspect in 1952. Angel is at a bookshop to do research on the Thesulac, a paranoia demon that feeds on people's fears. Denver, the owner, gives him the 411: If it becomes corporeal after a big feed, this offers an opportunity to kill it. Denver is surprised that a vamp is trying to help humans — so is Angel.


Angel arrives back at the hotel but the lobby is deserted. When he arrives on his floor, he discovers why. The mob is swarming Judy, accusations flying. She announces that Angel's the murderer. Why, he even keeps blood in his room! The angry mob turns on Angel. They chase him out into the lobby and hang him from the rafters. As Angel hangs there, the fervor dies out and they all flee to their rooms. When everyone else is gone, Angel reaches up and undoes the noose. The Thesulac, now fully sated and corporeal, gloats that Angel really did reach Judy. And she turned on him anyway. Angel bitterly tells the demon to "Take 'em all," and walks away.

Present Day – The ritual complete, the Thesulac appears before them. He speaks of how he's been feeding all these years and it just gets better with age. A brief battle ensues, and Angel grabs one of the demon's tentacles and stuffs it into the fuse box, electrocuting the Thesulac. Angel walks up the stairs to Judy's room. She's still there, aged fifty years. She recognizes Angel and asks him for forgiveness. A deeply-shaken Angel grants it. Finally at peace, she dies of old age. Angel returns to the others downstairs. They can't wait to be getting out of there. Not so fast, Angel says; Angel Investigations is moving in.



  • All of the Other Reindeer: Judy hints at having been disowned by her mother's side for not looking black enough.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: The lantern-jawed actor who resides on Angel's floor is spotted entertaining a male youth. His appearance and mannerisms are reminiscent of the legendary actor Rock Hudson, who came out of the closet after announcing that he had AIDS.
  • The Atoner: Angel, natch, only this time he's atoning for something Angel did, rather than something Angelus did.
  • Beatnik: Denver, non stop.
  • Bond One-Liner: "He's goin' down."
    • Also, "Kitchen's closed", right before frying the Thesulac.
  • Break Them by Talking: The Thesulac, enjoying his moment of triumph, taunts Angel over his failed effort to restore Judy's faith in people. The demon offers him a final opportunity to save the tortured souls in the hotel. Angel says, "Take 'em all" and walks out of the Hyperion, leaving the tenants to their fate.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Subverted; Judy's stolen money is played up as a major plot point, with Angel stashing it between the piping in the hotel basement. Nothing comes of it. In the present, Angel revisits the site and discovers the rotted briefcase sitting right where he left it.
  • Broken Record: The salesman blows his brains out to the sound of Perry Como's "Hoop-Dee-Doo"; the shot is accompanied by a Record Scratch after which it begins repeating.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Denver will appear again in "Reprise".
  • Combat Tentacles: The Thesulac is an armless, robed creature who is mostly composed of green tendrils.
  • Comically Missing the Point: As Cordelia is leafing through old photographs, she comes across a familiar face: Angel. Wesley is astonished; Cordy less so.
    Cordelia: It's not that vampires don't photograph, it's that they don't photograph well.
  • Creator In-Joke: Cordelia and Wesley mention that the hotel bellhop's name was Frank Gilnitz. "Gilnitz" is a name that was often used for incidental or unseen characters on The X-Files, usually with the first name John; it became a running joke on that show. The name was an amalgam of the names of longtime X-Files writers John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, and Frank Spotnitz. Tim Minear was a writer and story editor for the show.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: An African-American family is prevented from staying in the hotel by its manager, who claims that "the sign is wrong" and that he really has no vacancies.
  • Do with Him as You Will: Angel was about to summon the Thesulac and kill it, when Judy turns the paranoid mob in his direction to save herself, leading to him getting beaten and lynched. He's so disgusted with the people afterward that, when the Thesulac offers him the chance to kill it, he personally gives it free reign to keep preying on the Hyperion's residents and walks out.
    Thesulac: Hey, you know what? There is an entire hotel here just full of tortured souls that could really use your help. What do you say?
    Angel: Take 'em all.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the midst of Angel's flashbacks Cordy and Wesley come across an old press clipping about Judy. The manhunt for her was called off and she is presumed dead. She disappeared in 1952 after staying at the Hyperion.
  • Driven to Suicide: The candles salesman.
  • Emotion Eater: The Thesulac.
  • Empty Eyes: Lampshaded by the bellhop re Angel. "Ever look into his eyes? There's nothing there."
  • Environmental Symbolism: When Angel recovers the money briefcase in the present day, there is graffiti on the right side on a wall. The letters appear to spell "Angel" vertically, but if you look carefully it actually spells "Angela."
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Angel repeatedly glances over at Judy as the tenants prepare to lynch him. Though she's clearly distraught, Judy does nothing to intervene.
  • Everybody Smokes: Even Angel. And he can't breathe!
    • This is the first time we see Angel smoking on his own show, though he previously lit up on Buffy, after he turned evil. The trope is used both here and in "Redefinition" to highlight his Dark Side moments.
  • Evil Laugh: The Thesulac cackles heartily when Angel leaves the tenants to their deaths.
  • Eye Awaken: Angel's eyes snapping open after being hanged.
  • The '50s:
  • Foreshadowing: The Thesulac gleefully points out that Wesley is the most paranoid of Angel's teammates. Played for Laughs for the time being, but Wesley's suspicious nature plays a dark role in Season Three.
    • Also, Angel leaving the hotel and allowing the Thesulac demon to continue feeding on them out of spite. This spiteful side of Angel will re-emerge halfway through Season Two.
  • Forgiveness: Angel gives this to Judy for allowing him to be lynched in The '50s, moments before she dies of old age.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Reveals that C. Mulvihill's first name is Claude.
  • Going Postal: . Wesley says there is a history of deaths at the hotel since its early construction, culminating in its closure in 1979 after the concierge, Roland Meeks, performed his routine wake-up calls with a 12-gauge shotgun.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: See All of the Other Reindeer.
  • Hate Plague: When the Thesulac's influence goes overboard.
  • Haunted Headquarters
  • Hell Hotel
  • Hikikomori: Overwhelmed with guilt over what she did to Angel, Judy holes herself up in her hotel room and becomes a paranoid hermit, providing the Thesulac with endless "room service" for nearly fifty years.
  • Holy Burns Evil: Angel goes to Denver's bookshop, asking for books on Demonic Possession. Denver chucks him a book — it's the Holy Bible, causing Angel to vamp out.
  • Hollywood Exorcism
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Despite forming a bond with Judy, Angel ultimately slides back into his original opinion that humans aren't worth saving after being lynched.
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    Wesley: I've been accused of a great many things in my time, but "paranoid" has never been one of them. [glances up warily] Unless people have been saying it behind my back.
  • Improvised Weapon: Denver supplies Angel with the ingredients he needs to raise the Thesulac. To really kill it, however, a bolt of lightning would be helpful. Fifty years later, Angel makes do with a fuse box.
  • Jerkass: The bellhop, Frank Gilnitz, plays this trope hard. When the lynch mob disperses back to their rooms, Gilnitz is the only person left who is still cheering Angel's execution. "Yeeaah! Swing, ya freak!"
  • Let Them Die Happy: Angel tells a dying Judy that he forgives her.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: As Angel once said, it's not like he needs the oxygen.
    • On the other hand, a poorly planned hanging occasionally resulted in decapitation, which is a danger to vampires.
  • Must Be Invited: Denver considers taking a sleeping-bag to camp out in his own store in order to make it vampire-proof.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Echoed by the hotel manager right when the sight of Angel's hanging body snaps everybody (however temporarily) back to their senses.
    • Judy has been tormented by her grief and guilt over betraying Angel to the lynch mob out of self-preservation for nearly fifty years, her fear and sorrow providing the Thesulac with "room service" ever since that day. After killing the demon, Angel finds her still in her old room and forgives her for her betrayal, allowing her to die peacefully.
  • Nervous Wreck: Judy is always nervous, considering what she has to hide.
  • Never Recycle a Building: The Hyperion Hotel has been siting abandoned quite a long time until Angel rents it. Of course, the demon in residence there might have had something to do with that...
  • Never Suicide: A scriptwriter resident in the hotel convinces everyone the salesman's suicide was a murder.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • The actor staying at the hotel is described in the script as a "Rock Hudson type". Like Rock Hudson, the actor is a handsome leading man and closeted homosexual.
    • The blacklisted writer looks similar to Arthur Miller, who was also a screenwriter. Miller, however, wasn't blacklisted until 1957.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Angel's attempt to confront the Thesulac results in him getting lynched.
  • Obligatory Joke
    Thesulac: See what happens when you stick your neck out for 'em? They throw a rope around it! [chuckles at his own joke]
  • Opinion Flip Flop:
    Cordelia: I for one will be glad to see the last of this place. Gives me the heebie-jeebies...70 years of violence, mayhem and paranoia - bad vibes.
    Angel: We're moving in.
    Cordelia: I mean, a few throw pillows, what's not to love?
  • Pass Fail: Judy got fired after it was discovered that she's biracial. This fact was brought to the attention of her fiancé, who promptly dropped her like a hot potato.
  • Power Glows / Dramatic Wind: The exorcism.
  • Pretender Diss: Angel tells Denver to knock of the "Van Helsing Jr. crap".
  • Private Detective: P.I. Claude Mulvihill
  • Product Placement: Averted - The Apple Logos on Cordelia's iBook are covered up with pink post-it notes.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The salesman.
  • Pyrrhic Victory
  • Red Scare: The flashback's are set during the height of McCarthyism. Sessions of the House Un-American Activities Committee are watched on TV. Also, under the influence of the Thesulac demon, the actor accuses the blacklisted writer of being a communist.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: The flashbacks show that although Angel possesses his soul in the '50s, he's not the straight up hero he's become by the present day, seeing as he abandons the hotel guests to their fate after they lynch him.
  • A Shared Suffering: Judy can pass for Anglo, but her blood is considered "tainted." She can't fit in either place. Angel can relate. (He is an ensouled vampire who can't flock with his own kind anymore, but finds no solace among mankind, either.)
  • Shout-Out: Angel's room no. in the Hyperion was 217, which fans of Stephen King will recognize from the The Shining. That is to say, the novel, not the Kubrick movie — the owners of the Timberline Lodge (used for exterior shots in the movie) asked that the room number be changed to 237, because the hotel had no 237 and they were sure no one would stay in room 217 after seeing the film.
    • According to Tim Minear, the private investigator, Claude Mulvihill, was named after a private investigator in the film Chinatown (hence the bandaged nose).
    • The observatory scene is a reference to Rebel Without a Cause. Angel is toting a red jacket, much like James Dean's, while the lead female character's name is Judy in both.
    • While watching his black & white TV, Denver grumbles, "They keep calling her a "zany redhead." Could be a brunette for all I can tell." The "zany redhead" in question is Lucille Ball.
    • A double one to Arthur Miller: Much of the plot owes some subtle points to The Crucible. The play itself was written during the McCarthy era - the time slot in which the show takes place. In this case, Angel expies John Proctor, who is sent to the gallows by Abigail Williams, expied by Judy. Bonus points when you realize that the Thesulac's first victim is a salesman Driven to Suicide, commented on by the other guests.
      • Knowing Joss Whedon, it may pe plausible to think that the scriptwriter resident at the hotel at this time is meant to be Arthur Miller himself.
    • The flashback section of the plot also shares some similarities with Psycho. Most notably, they take place in approximately the same time period, in a Hell Hotel, and the main female character is a former bank worker from a southwestern state (Arizona, Colorado) hiding there after stealing a case full of money from her employers. She meets a tall, pale, socially awkward guy with dark hair and eyes who has a murderous second personality and who gets rid of the private investigator sent to look for her. Also, when Angel first tells Wesley about the hotel, he mentions it has "68 rooms, 68 vacancies", the same way Norman Bates described the Bates Motel (though with more rooms, of course).
  • Slasher Smile: The Thesulac is fond of showing all of his teeth.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Wesley starts the ritual, amid bickering with Gunn. Angel warns them not to pay attention to the demon's whisperings, but Cordy steps in and explains that they were like this during the entire drive.
  • Title Drop: "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party?" During the opening credits crawl, one of the hotel's tenants (a blacklister screenwriter) is shown watching a broadcast of Senator McCarthy's congressional hearings. As well as taking place during this era, this episode is thematically about the paranoia which characterized the McCarthy trials.
  • Torches and Pitchforks
  • Unexplained Accent: Why the Thesulac has a Southern accent is anyone's guess.
  • Ungrateful Townsfolk: In the fifties flashbacks, Angel is getting ready to summon and kill the paranoia demon that's been affecting everyone in the hotel, when Judy turns an angry mob on him to divert their attention away from her. This was justified by the fact that it was a paranoia demon, and Angel leaving them all to their fates is presented as a failure on his part.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The hotel manager and bellboy barely register surprise at the salesman's dead body.
    • When Angel hears the shot, he doesn't even react.
  • Verbal Tic: The gum-chewing bellhop tends to abbreviate his words with, "Whaddaya call" while he's searching for a word.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: No reference is ever again made to the money Angel recovered from the hotel basement. According to Tim Minear, Angel sent it back to the bank.
  • Witch Hunt: The Thesulac inspires the hotel's guests to hunt the supposed murderer of the salesman.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The flashback to Angel's time in the Hyperion Hotel in 1952 makes up the majority of the episode.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Denver to Angel — he's not impressed.