Wesley, Cordelia Chase, Fred, and Gunn joke around in the lobby, while Fred works on some kind of strange contraption that nobody can figure out. Wesley and Cordelia mockingly act out a summary of Buffy and Angel's relationship while Angel is somewhere between Sunnydale and LA visiting his resurrected ex-lover. However it is quickly broken up when Angel walks in on this, much to his annoyance and their embarassment. Cordelia attempts to get him to talk about what went on with him and Buffy, but Angel refuses. He decides to take Fred out for some ice cream (since she's the only member of the gang who doesn't care about the meet-up with Buffy) as Cordelia laments that no-one will ever find out what happened. Angel and Fred are then seen scouring the sewers for a Durslar beast that attacked them while in Häagen-Dazs, despite them not being known for roaming above ground. Although Angel is certain he can kill the Durslar himself, he decides to send Fred back to the hotel.
Back at the hotel, a middle-aged couple named Roger and Trish show up looking for their daughter; the gang assume the couple want to hire them, and ask her questions about what supernatural force they think took their daughter. Roger and Trish explain they already hired a private detective who traced her to the hotel; their missing daughter is Fred. As the gang quickly try to cover their discussion of demonic activity as slang Fred enters the hotel and, unnoticed, spots her parent and rushes up to her room.
Fred's parents explain that they recently got a letter from their daughter telling them she was ok, since she'd been missing for five years, but not to look for her (Gunn can't help but be impressed that the private detective traced them despite there being no return address on the envelope). The gang pretend that Fred was depressed, as Angel suddenly walks in the Durslar beast's head waxing lyrical about the great fight he had until the gang shut him up and pretend Angel works in monster movies and the head is a prop.
The gang head to Fred's room to find she is gone, but the ice cream wrapper on the floor shows she's just been there and fled. The gang don't trust her parents, since Fred seems to be scared of them and she did send a letter asking them not to look for her (and even discuss the possibility the letter may just be a ruse to get close to Fred). Worried about Fred, especially since she's never left the hotel alone since her return from Pylea, the gang decide to split up and search for her deciding to start with the sewers and the library where she used to work.
Fred heads to Caritas, which is still wrecked from the massacre of a few weeks earlier, to see Lorne. Unfortunately for her, Lorne is still depressed over what happened and in no mood to entertain, lounging around in pyjamas and a robe. Fred (after briefly singing 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat') asks Lorne for money so she can leave LA, and he tells her that he understands she's running from her own demons warning her she may not have run far enough.
Angel searches for Fred in the sewers, and, unbeknownst to him, is being followed by a creature that looks like a giant fly with glowing blue eyes. The others search the public library, as Trish tells them how she would pick Fred up from their community library back home after her rounds as a school bus driver. Roger demands to know what Fred is doing with the gang, since it seems strange a physicist would work for a detective agency. As Cordy, Wes and Gunn confer over where else Fred could have gone to it finally hits them she may have headed for Caritas. They call Angel, who is still being stalked, and tell him to meet them there.
At the bar, Lorne makes it clear to Gunn that he's not welcome at the moment (since it was partially his fault that his gang attacked). Cordy tries to claim Lorne works with Angel in monster movies, to explain the 'make-up', but Lorne is in no mood to humor anyone. Lorne tries claiming he doesn't know where Fred is, but Angel convinces him to help, and he tells her where she is but warns him that it's not going to be easy for her...
Meanwhile, an agitated Fred is at the bus station, talking to herself and trying to decide where to flee to (her ramblings manage to scare off a homeless man), when her parents find her. They greet her with love and tenderness, and it becomes clear that she didn't want to see her parents because she didn't want them to know where she had spent the past five years and didn't want to relive those horrible experiences when telling them about her ordeal. They hadn't been menacing at all, and there had been nothing "off" about them. They were exactly what they seemed: loving parents distressed about the well-being of their daughter and confused by the many odd things they kept encountering. With her friends watching in silent support, Fred breaks down in tears and is comforted by her parents as she is forced to come to terms with the fact that the terrible things she went through in Pylea actually happened. They all embrace with love, and just then, a bug-like demon descends upon them in the bus station and starts attacking. All attempts to continue fooling the Burkles are abandoned, and everyone fights the creature, but it is a losing battle with Fred being injured until Trish commandeers a bus and drives over the demon killing it.
Back at the hotel, everyone patches up their wounds and talk over what happened, with Roger and Trish taking the knowledge of supernatural beasts and monsters in stride, just happy to see their daughter. Fred however is now beginning to doubt her place in the group and where she fits in and this, combined with her recent injury, decides to go home with her parents. Roger and Trish are obviously happy to have their daughter return home with them, while the rest of the gang are saddened but respect her decision. Angel later talks with Fred in her room, as she admits that she just built herself another cave here after he left upon learning of Buffy's death.
Fred says her farewells to the gang and leaves with her parents. As they head to the airport discussing what the Burkles are going to do about the lodger in Fred's old room, Fred suddenly sees the bug demon's blood she got on her shirt is now crystals and, working out what's going on, asks to head back. Meanwhile Angel and the others talk about how much they'll miss having Fred and her parents around, only to be interrupted when a bug demon smashes through the hotel's doors, followed by a huge mass of them. As they begin to attack, Fred walks in and sets off her strange contraption which turns out to be a hands-free device that flings an axe across the room. The axe bisects the severed Durslar head, releasing hoards of bugs. Seeing this, the fly creature leaves. Fred now understands what happened; the bug-demon laid its eggs in the Durslar's head which is why it ventured above ground and attacked. When Angel brought the head back to the hotel, the mother or father (Fred believing it could be either or both) attacked them at the bus station and when the parent was killed the rest of the hive arrived to claim the offspring. Fred is commended on her excellent deductive reasoning, and this makes Fred realize she does have a place with Angel Investigations after all and decides to stay. Her parents respectfully accept her decision.
Later, the gang and Fred's parents paint over Fred's wall scribblings to signify her fresh start. While Angel and Fred's dad bond over the knowledge that Spiro Agnew was a demon and Wes and Gunn argue over the correct way to paint, Fred comes across a drawing of her and Angel on a horse. Ready to start moving on from her ordeal in Pylea, Fred paints over it.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Fred leaves with her parents, but comes back when she has a Eureka Moment about the bug demon. Fred then realises she can't return to normal life as she's no longer normal herself, and Angel Investigations is where she wants to be.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Lampshaded by Fred. "I could build a condo in these sewers."
- Actually Pretty Funny: Gunn is cracking up as Cordelia and Wesley do accurate impressions of Buffy and Angel respectively. Even Angel admits that it's amusing.
- Adult Fear: Fred's parents found out that she comes back after disappearing for five years. Then she runs away and doesn't want to see them. She breaks down when they catch up to her because she has to admit she's lost her mind and she was tortured for five years. Her mother, while crying, reassures her that they still love her and want to help.
- After Action Patch Up: Angel is rather eager to get patched up by Cordy again.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!Fred: I swear I don't know how you all put up with me. I practically need flashcards to understand my (looks past Angel) pretty crystals. Oh, look. They're everywhere.
- Armed with Canon: See Romantic Hyperbole.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking (or maybe Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick in reverse):Roger: Frankly, Angel, I don't care if you drink pig's blood, cows blood, or those froofy, little, imported beers.
- Bad "Bad Acting": Cordelia and Wesley drilling the shit out of the Bangel romance.
- Bait-and-Switch: The episode opens with someone pointing a sword at Wesley, with him saying "You're not serious". Turns out they team are re-arranging the order of the weapons cabinet.
- Beethoven Was an Alien SpyRoger: "Now, Spiro Agnew, I know he was—"
Angel: "A Grathnar demon! You knew that? I thought I was the only one that knew that!"
Roger: "What else would he be, but a demon?"
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The she-mantis and the giant bugs
- Brief Accent Imitation:Gunn: Yes, give us that (mimics Wes' English accent) "purpose of an inventory" speech, again.
- Wesley puts on an American accent during the Bangel re-enactment scene. Note that Alexis Denisof really is American.
- Brick Joke: Fred's Rube Goldberg Device is presumed to be either a spring-loaded decapitation device or something to make toast. It turns out to be the former.
- Cat Scare: Angel's mobile rings as he's being stalked through the sewers by a giant bug demon.
- The Champion: Angel to Fred.
- Chekhov's Skill: Fred's mother drives a school bus for a living.
- Continuity Nod: Angel is returning from the meeting Buffy was going to at the end of BTVS "Flooded".
- Crazy Homeless Person: Spoofed when Fred Talking to Herself at the bus station scares off the hobo sitting next to her.Fred: Oh hey, I wa... I was just calculating Pi, relax. I'm not dangerous!
- Crossover: Averted due to Buffy's Channel Hop to UPN, though crossover characters would return in Seasons 4 & 5.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Wesley re the odds of Angel getting back together with Buffy."I think it's fair to say...no. Not a chance, never, no way, not in a million years, and also 'nuh-uh.'"
- Double Entendre: Cordelia saying "I can soothe your ass off" to Angel.
- Double Meaning: Lorne is actually being metaphorical, not referring to Fred's parents."You thought you could outrun them, and maybe you were free. But those old monsters hunted you down."
- Dramatic Downstage Turn: Cordelia turns away from Fred and towards the fourth wall when she starts demonstrating what Bangel is all about.
- Dysfunction Junction: Wesley (abusive father), Angel (strict father), Cordelia (father in prison) and Gunn (orphan) all envy Fred's Good Parents.
- Elephant in the Living Room: What Fred's parents are to her — she has been coping with her trauma by pretending she's living in a Heroic Fantasy. The presence of her parents brings home the fact that what she's experienced is real.
- Enemy Rising Behind: The Durslar beast to Angel in the sewers. One Battle Discretion Shot later and Angel is proudly showing off its head.
- Everybody Cries: Fred and her parents cry together when they catch up with her; Fred is sobbing because she has to admit that the last five years really did happen, trauma and all. Her parents are tearing up because Fred is back, she's safe now, but she's been through hell.
- Finish Dialogue in UnisonRoger: "Well, I tell ya, I hadn't seen a stroke like that since Nicklaus took on Gary Player in the '63..."
Angel & Roger: "Bob Hope Dessert Classic!"
- Five-Man Band: Lampshaded by Fred right down to naming Wesley as "the brain", Gunn as "the muscle", and Cordy as "The Heart".
- Gadgeteer Genius: Fred
- Gag Echo / Strange Minds Think Alike: Roger Burkle also suspects Fred's gadget makes toast.
- Good Parents: The Burkles end up being this. While the Fang Gang is worried they may have abused Fred, it turns out their fear and concern for her were genuine and they comfort her as she breaks down and admits she was trying to deny that she had disappeared for five years and suffered in a demon dimension. They offer to take her home to help her recover. When she decides to stay, they accept her decision but promise to be in contact.
- Half-Truth / Implausible Deniability: The Fang Gang trying to explain away demons and Fred's absence. The Burkles are unimpressed.
- Hands Off My Fluffy!: Inverted in a Noodle Incident where Wesley talks with nostalgia of how he once impaled what he thought was a small Rodentius demon with a spear they're cataloging. "Of course the poodle's owners weren't too happy."
- Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Angel returns from his meeting with Buffy and it's implied that things didn't go well. He immediately takes Fred out for ice cream.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Angel modestly says he's not a superhero when Roger Burkle calls him one. Gunn cheerfully chimes in with "More like a bloodsucking fiend!" earning himself a sour look from Angel.
- Implausible Deniability: Fred most definitely is not still crushing on Angel.Fred: And of course she's gonna love him back, because he's so strong and handsome and he really listens when you talk. I-I mean, if you go for that sort of thing.
- Improvised Weapon: The Fang Gang make good use of a bag of golf clubs at the bus station. Roger Burkle clonks the bug with a metal rubbish bin while Trish Burkle makes better use of a bus.
- I Take Offense to That Last One!Cordy: "Fred can barely tie her shoes without Mr. 'oh, you're my big, fat hero!' around."
Angel: "You think I'm fat?"
- It's a Long Story: Wesley has to bring the Burkles up to speed whilst Angel is fighting a big demon bug.Wes: "Angel's a vampire. He has a soul, but it's a long story. I'll tell you about it if we don't end up dying."
- Just the Way You Are: Mr. and Mrs. Burkle say they don't care if Fred is different or has lost her mind. She's back and safe; that's all that matters to them. Whether she wants to go home or stay in Los Angeles, they'll support her.
- Look Both Ways: Justified as Fred's mum is driving the bus she uses to run over the big bug.
- Mad Oracle: Angel goes to see Fred in her Room Full of Crazy before she departs for good. He knocks on the door; inside Fred is looking at words she's written on the wall; Go away, go away, go away, knocking.
- Mama Bear / Papa Bear: Fred's parents immediately pitch in to defend their daughter.Roger: "That's my daughter, you damn cockroach!"
- Monster Is a Mommy: The bugs are actually after the demon head that Angel took back to the Hyperion with him. Once Fred's device breaks open its skull, a horde of tiny bugs follow mummy out the door and the horde stop attacking.
- Mystery Magnet: Fred and Angel go out for ice cream. Next thing we see they're stalking through the sewers, and Fred is babbling happily about the monster that jumped out of the ice cream freezer to attack them.
- Not So Dire: Wesley is apparently being threatened at sword point. Actually Cordelia was showing him the sword for cataloguing.
- Off with His Head!: Angel proudly struts in with the head of the Durslar beast he killed, declaring that he wants it mounted, only to realize Fred's parents are there, so Angel claims it's a prop head from a movie."You know, a little glue, paper-mache... [Angel tosses the head aside, then winces at the sound of breaking glass] Possibly some lead."
- Oh, Crap!: The gang look out the window into the Hyperion's garden to see a swarm of giant bugs.Cordelia: "We are so immensely dead."
- Once Upon a Time: Fred tells Angel their own story in the form of a fairy tale.
- OOC Is Serious Business
- Fred flees the Hyperion when her parents turn up, even though she's barely gone out of her room in months.
- Lorne wearing a ratty terrycloth robe.
- Papa Wolf: Fred's dad attacks the mantis with a golf club when to save Fred.
- Private Eye Monologue: Cordelia tries to pass off their talk of vampires and demons as "LA gumshoe detective slang."
- Romantic Hyperbole: In commemoration of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Channel Hopping to another network, Cordelia and Wesley spoof the Bangel romance in a Funny Moment.Cordelia: Let me break it down for you, Fred. [Chewing the Scenery] Oh, Angel! I know that I am a Slayer, and you are a vampire, and it would be impossible for us to be together, but—"
Wesley: But! [The Glasses Come Off] My Gypsy Curse sometimes prevents me from seeing the truth. Oh, Buffy...
Cordelia: Yes, Angel?
Wesley: [Milking the Giant Cow] I love you so much I almost forgot to brood!
Cordelia: And just because I sent you to hell that one time doesn't mean we can't just...be friends!
Wesley: [Clint Squint] Or possibly more?
Cordelia: Gasp!! No! We mustn't!
Wesley: Kiss me!
Cordelia: Bite me!
Angel: [Walk-In Chime-In] How 'bout you both bite me?
Fred: You're back!
Gunn: How'd it go?
Angel: I think those two pretty much summed it up. To be honest, I really don't want to talk about it.
- Room Full of Crazy: Fred realizes her room was just another cave she built in the hope that Angel could save her. The episode ends on the gang and her parents helping Fred whitewash the walls, with Fred painting over a picture she drew of Angel saving her on his horse.
- Saying Too Much:Wesley: They loved her. Supported her. Didn't grind her down into a... tiny self-conscious nub with their constant berating. Their never-ending tirade of debasement, and scorn and...
- Shaped Like ItselfCordy: "I'm not gonna sit around here and mope like you bunch of...mopers."
- Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Fred is trying to escape her parents, who are presumed by the Fang Gang to be demons or Abusive Parents. It turns out her parents are completely normal which is why Fred doesn't want to face them, as it would mean acknowledging that the horrors she lived through were real. It's actually kind of amusing that Whedon had racked up so many abusive father characters that this is genuinely shocking.
- Ship Sinking: Even though Buffy got resurrected, Cordelia and Wesley confirm that Angel is not getting back together with Buffy. They explain it to Fred via roleplay. Angel arrives and confirms that his meeting with Buffy didn't do well.
- Short Story LongAngel: "So how you doing?"
Fred: "Oh, ah...fizzy. Kinda weird and... fizzy. But excited. And a little sad. Thankful. Sorta cautiously happy. Relieved and worried at the same time. Slightly nauseous while still bein', hopeful?"
Angel: "And that about covers it."
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Cordelia tells the Burkles that Fred is out with one of their associates.Cordy: "Who is not an evil fiend...or a vampire...because they don't exist."
- Take That!:
- Lorne believes that massacres are like sitting through The Godfather Part III - once is enough.
- When Fred's mother is talking to Cordelia about her husband's love of Alien movies, she says he loves them all "except that last one they made. I think he dozed off." The movie she is referring to is Alien: Resurrection, the screenplay of which was written by Joss Whedon.
- Tempting Fate
- Roger tells Fred she's safe now. Giant bug-demon drops from above.
- "Angel said he could handle— (Angel gets thrown through the French doors) ...it."
- Subverted when Gunn tells Cordy to hurry up and have another vision. Cordelia is snarking back that she's not in a hurry to have another agonizing experience when she suddenly screams in pain...because she stubbed her toe on Fred's gadget.
- Think Nothing of It:Angel: Nice going, Fred.Fred: Aw, it was nothing. Just a stunning revelation of my true path in life, that's all.
- The Unreveal: What happened between Buffy and Angel, who makes it clear he doesn't want to talk about it.Cordelia: "Now we'll never, ever know."Angel: [off screen] "That's right."
- Vampire Detective Series: Again spoofed, with the gang impressed that the Private Detective the Burkles hired was able to trace her letter back to them despite the lack of return address.
- Wasn't That Fun?: Trish Burkle after running over the bug demon shouts excitedly, "Did I get it? Did I get it, y'all?"