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Recap / Angel S 04 E 02 Ground State

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Angel seeks a magical artifact that can help him locate Cordelia, but a professional thief with unusual powers is also planning to steal it.


  • Apologetic Attacker: Gunn sneaking up on a guard.
    Look out! (punches guard) Tried to warn ya.
  • Aloof Ally: Lilah calls Wesley on his supposed indifference to Angel's fate.
    Lilah: And all this time, you're lying through your teeth. Wes is so apathetic. Wesley doesn't care.
    Wesley: I had to raise him. Angel is...necessary.
    Lilah: For what?
    Wesley: Fighting people like you. (leans in for a kiss)
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Fred draws an adorable "Boo!" ghost on her flipchart, and is rather put out when Angel produces a detailed sketch of Cordelia.
  • Big Blackout: Gwen just takes over the security cameras — Angel yanks out the cords from the same junction box, killing the lights.
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  • Braids of Action: Gwen has a Lara Croft-style ponytail while carrying out her heist.
  • Bridal Carry: Angel carrying a gassed Gwen from the lift.
  • Celibate Hero: The opportunity for two characters who can't normally have sex to get some much-needed relief is averted because Angel thinks it would mean being unfaithful to Cordelia. Come on Angel, you're supposed to help the hopeless!
  • Captain Obvious: Thick bars trap them in the elevator, and Gwen's client appears on the other side.
    Angel: It's a double-cross.
    Gwen: I'm not slow. I know it's—- Shut up!
  • The Caper: The classical heist: Angel Investigations and Spark Woman are both after the same MacGuffin Hilarity Ensues
  • Card-Carrying Villain
    Lilah: Look, Angel, I know you've been out of loop for a while, but I'm still evil. I don't do errands unless they're... (grins) evil errands.
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  • The Chains of Commanding: Angel mentions how Fred seems to have stepped into Cordy's Team Mom role, but Gunn's near-death causes her to start venting.
    Fred: I am so sick of holding everything up around here. First Wesley leaves, then Angel, and Cordy. I-I'm sick of taking care of everything and paying bills and making peace and plans and keeping my chin up -— God, I am so sick of my chin being up!
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Gwen will reappear in "Long Day's Journey" and "Players".
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Averted with Dinza, despite Wesley's warning. Played straight with Gwen's client, though he does have his reasons other than not wanting to pay her.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar
  • Comically Missing the Point: Angel assuming Cordy must be happy in her Fluffy Cloud Heaven, when actually she's bored to tears.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Worn so Gwen can't touch anyone.
  • Continuity Nod:
    Angel: A heist like this, I've done it a million times. (beat) OK, maybe twice, but I'm good at it, I swear.
    Gunn: Uh, you're not counting the time we stole the crazy-making death shroud that nearly killed us, right?
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Averted — Gunn is playing it lightly, then Fred breaks down in angry tears.
  • Deathtrap / Deadly Gas
    Elliot: Professionals are discreet, young lady. You, on the other hand, are a freak. A dangerous freak. Which is why I had them remodel the elevator you're standing in. More of a retrofit, really. Low-teched the whole thing with six inches of Plexiglas separating you from any available current. (Gwen goes for the bars, but they don't conduct) Tempered Lucite.
    Angel: He's gonna seal us in and turn on the gas.
    Gwen: (to Elliot) What are you, Lex Luthor?
    Elliot: What do you think, I'm gonna stand here and duke it out with Electro Girl? No, don't worry. Uh, I'm told that the gas is very fast-acting. You'll be dead within... [Looks down at his wrist, where his watch was until Gwen fried it] uh, whoops. Where does the time go?
  • Distant Prologue: Gwen as a young girl being dropped off a a private academy in Wisconsin in 1985.
  • The Exit Is That Way: Angel, Gunn, and Fred are breaking into the auction house. Fred has just explained the plan in detail. The men boldly head off, one to the left and one to the right... at which point Fred shouts "Guys!" Embarrassed, they switch directions.
  • Expy: Gwen Raiden seems to have the same problems with physical closeness as Rogue of the X-Men franchise.
  • Eye Open / Astronomic Zoom: Cordy looking down from Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
  • Foreshadowing
    • "We could have gone to Vegas." Which they do in the next episode.
    • Dinza says she could keep Angel with her for eternity, "but you have so much more to lose."
  • Flashback Echo: Gwen Raiden electrocutes and kills Charles Gunn. She immediately flashes back to an event in her childhood in which she accidentally kills a boy she was making friends with. Shocked with herself, she revives Gunn within twenty seconds or so.
  • Flash Step: Dinza enjoys playing with Angel.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Lilah and Wes, Angel and Gwen.
    Wes: I don't need to hear your evil plans.
    Lilah: No, it just turns you on, knowing I have 'em.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: When Fred goes on an uncharacteristic rant about her increased responsibilities, Gunn jokes he doesn't know what kind of "alien female thing" has replaced her. In season five, she is replaced by an alien female thing, and it is heartbreaking.
  • Hello, Nurse!: The reaction of any red-blooded human to Gwen.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Before meeting Angel, Gwen knew she was a mutant with strange powers, but was completely unaware of vampires and demons.
  • Immodest Orgasm: Lilah has discovered that Justine was being held prisoner in Wesley's apartment.
    Wesley: So, you finally heard about that?
    Lilah: I heard. (whispers in his ear, then nibbles it) I'm betting she heard a few things, too.
    Wesley: The walls are soundproofed. Though she did call you "impossibly loud."
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: The Gwen/Angel fight leads to them snogging when Gwen restarts Angel's heart while trying to zap him.
    Gwen: I don't usually enjoy the hand-to-hand this much.
  • Laser Hallway: Angel uses his aerosol spray to reveal the beams, only for Gwen to enter via the roof and bend the beams using her power.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others
    Angel: What should I do, then? Send [Dinza] a gift? Sacrifice? (beat) Unholy fruit basket?
  • Lecture as Exposition: In which Fred keeps getting upstaged by Angel's intricate sketches.
    Gunn: Hey baby, I liked your...ghost guy.
    Fred: I haven't slept, Charles.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Gunn asks what type of equipment they'd need for the heist. Angel suggests repelling hooks, flashlights, aerosol spray — all during a montage of these items being prepared. "What else?" Lockpicking tools, rope, a knife and...lipstick? Turns out it's Gwen gearing up for action.
  • MacGuffin: The Axis of Pythia, which Angel can use to find out what dimension Cordelia is hiding in.
  • Mandatory Line: Averted with Lorne, who doesn't appear.
    Cordelia: What are you? Deficient? Get me out of here!
  • Magical Defibrillator: Thankfully Gwen has learned not only how to stop a heart but how start it again since back in elementary school.
  • Mind over Matter: Unhappy that the gang are packing up Cordelia's stuff as they can no longer afford the rent on her apartment, Phantom Dennis teleports her books back onto the shelf, causing Fred to lose her temper and shout that Cordy's not coming back.
  • N-Word Privileges / Berserk Button: Gwen says she's the only person who can call herself a freak.
  • The Nose Knows: Angel tries to pick up Cordelia's scent in her apartment, but mainly smells lemons from Fred's vigorous scrubbing. Later he smells Wesley's scent on Lilah.
  • Operation: [Blank]: Gunn asks what they'll need for "Operation Chance in Hell".
  • Papa Wolf: Angel catches Lilah watching Connor, and explains that if she tells him who hired Gwen he'll "ignore the fact that you were within 50 yards of my son. (beat. whispers) Just this once."
  • Perp Sweating: Angel says he beat the building plans out of a snitch who thought he was no longer around to do so.
  • Person as Verb
    Gunn: Angel would've picked me up and Flash Gordon'ed me to the ER.
  • Power Glows: Angel using the Axis is shown via a golden glow under the door.
  • Prison Rape
    Fred: We're still working on a plan, but so far, it involves being sent to prison and becoming somebody's bitch.
    • Later during the break-in...
    Fred: Please, let my cellmate be gentle.
  • Punny Name: Gwen RAIDEN
  • Put on a Bus: Phantom Dennis makes his presence known for the last time.
  • Quit Your Whining / Bait-and-Switch Comment
    Angel: So you're a freak. Boo-hoo. So what?
    Gwen: Excuse me?
    Angel: I think you've already figured out I'm not the poster-boy for normal. Sometimes, you gotta let go. [Punches Elliot]
  • Repeat After Me
    Angel: Who are you?
    Gwen: Who are you?
    Angel: I asked you first.
    Gwen: What are you, seven?
    Angel: Tell me you're not here for the Axis.
    Gwen: I'm not here for the Axis.
    Angel: You're lying.
    Gwen: I'm fibbing. It's lying, only classier.
  • Shadow Archetype: Wesley now has his own demon-fighting team; it's not clear if they're ex-followers of Holtz or what. Especially since they're never seen again after Wes returns to the fold later in the season.
  • Shock and Awe
  • Shout-Out: Gwen melts Elliot's watch.
    Elliot: Gwen, that is a twelve thousand dollar watch.
    Gwen: Now it's surrealism.
  • So Much for Stealth: Adult!Gwen is first seen entering the restaurant to meet Elliot in a red leather Bare Your Midriff outfit with a Sexy Walk that makes every man in the room gape at her. Elliot is not impressed as he wanted a covert meeting. The chaos caused by Angel's clumsy attempt to steal the artifact only convinces him that Gwen isn't a professional, so he decides to have her killed instead of paying her.
  • Spy Catsuit / Cleavage Window: Gwen's stealing outfit.
  • Spit Take: When told the Axis of Pythia is being kept in an auction house, Gunn suggests just buying it, only to choke on his cup when told it's worth 33 million.
    Gunn: I think my lungs (cough) have coffee.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Angel's still got it.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Angel and Cordy
  • Stripperiffic: Justified for a woman who Can't Have Sex, Ever, so Male Gaze is the only sexual attention she can receive. Not as justified for a professional cat burglar who should avoid bringing attention to herself, as Elliot points out.
  • Title Drop: Though you could be excused for missing it.
    Gwen: I'm exciting the subatomic particles with electrical energy and then bouncing 'em off each other before they hit ground state.
  • Touch of Death: Getting touched by Gwen sans gloves is usually not a good idea... unless you're a vampire, of course
  • We Used to Be Friends: Angel tries making up with Wesley, but realizing his true agenda Wes just hands over his file on Cordelia's disappearance and walks off.
  • Who Are You?
    Angel: What are you?
    Gwen: I'm a freak.
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