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Recap / Angel S 04 E 06 Spin The Bottle

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After his rendition of "The Way We Were", Lorne addresses an unseen lounge audience, narrating the conversation that Angel and Cordelia had begun just as the previous episode ended. Cordelia questions whether she and Angel were in love, and Angel is uncertain. Cordelia just wants to remember who she is. Lorne arrives with the answer: a bottle containing a memory-restoration spell, which Cordelia is eager to try. Wesley arrives, having been asked by Lorne to help with the spell while testing a stake weapon on his right arm, and has an awkward meeting with Fred. She vaguely informs him that her mission was completed, as Gunn realizes that Wesley helped Fred try to kill her professor. When he confronts Wesley, he also threatens Wesley to not pursue Fred, but Wesley tries to dismiss the issue, even triggering the stake on his collapsible sword. Gunn asks what happened to him. Wesley reminds Gunn that "I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me." The gang hold hands in a circle around the bottle as it starts to spin. The spell disorients everyone; Lorn passes out and the others stumble about the lobby as if very high on mushrooms. Cordelia suddenly panics and smashes the bottle with her boot. She starts on a tirade about kidnapping and sophomore pranks, as she has mentally regressed to when she was the most popular girl at Sunnydale High; Wesley believes he is still a student at the Watchers Academy, Gunn is once again a rebellious street kid, Fred is transformed into a younger and insecure pothead, and Angel has reverted to his pre-vampire self - a frightened Irish teenager from 1753 named Liam. While Liam wonders what happened to his Irish accent, saying its the devil, the rest of the gang question what brought them together and what they should do to solve the mystery of their current situation. Gunn and Wesley butt heads on plans and when Wesley tries to demonstrate his toughness with a karate demonstration, he unintentionally activates the stake weapon up his sleeve. When Gunn and Fred find Lorne passed out behind the counter, they are shocked to see a demon. Liam restates its the Devil. Meanwhile, Connor saves a young woman from two vampires. The woman offers her body in repayment, but only if he pays $50.

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Back at the hotel, Wesley duct tapes Lorne to the seat in the lobby while arguing with Gunn over whether to cut Lorne's head off or torture him for information. When Cordelia asks why they're not freaking out about wooded stakes or the sight of a green man with horns, Wesley and Gunn both reveal that vampires and demons are real and they both have experience with them. Fred examines an unconscious Lorne while Wesley shares his theory that they're being kept in the hotel with a vampire as a test. They all start to wonder why they don't look 17 like they feel, and collectively decide to hunt for the vampire that will supposedly set them free once they kill it. Cordelia and Liam team up and go one way while the other three head in the other direction. Liam struggles to adjust to this strange world that is hundreds of years beyond his life, Cordy tries to comfort him. But while she turns away, Liam vamps out and much to his own surprise, realizes that he's a vampire and he will be killed if the gang finds out.

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Liam tries to leave the hotel, but freaks out when he spots the cars on the street and rushes back inside to escape the shiny "demons." As the group regathers in the lobby, Wesley introduces a new theory: the vampire may be one of them. He passes a cross around the group, but when it finally reaches Liam, he manages to hide his smoking hand until a distraction develops. Lorne wakes up, his memory unaffected, and identifies Liam as a vampire. Liam punches Lorne and is knocked out again. A fight breaks out between Liam, Wesley and Gunn, and the girls run in separate directions. Liam catches Cordelia, who screams loudly, drawing a lurking Connor out of the shadows. Liam rants to Connor about fathers as the two fight, while in the lobby, Lorne convinces Fred to release him, and he mixes together a concoction to restore their memories.

After treating the others, Lorne puts a touch of the mixture on Cordy's tongue. She pauses for a second before running off. Lorne tells the audience that, although they didn't know it at the time, when he restored Cordelia's memory at the same time something powerful and evil woke up...

Cordelia reveals to Angel that she remembers everything. He asks her the same question she asked him earlier that evening: Were they in love? She tells him they were and walks off, leaving Angel behind. Lorne then walks off the stage, and the camera reveals an empty Lounge.


Tropes

  • A-Cup Angst
    Teen!Cordy: (groping her own boobs) I've filled out.
    Teen!Fred: (looks down at hers) And I... apparently ain't gonna.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Cordelia knows the name of every shoe store in the Beverly Center.
  • Alpha Bitch: Who else would be mean to Fred?
    Teen!Cordy: Oh, we're both in school. Oh, gosh, let's be best friends so I can lose all my cool ones.
  • Amnesia Danger: The heroes regressed back to their teenaged selves. Most of them have little or no fighting experience, and so the team find themselves unusually vulnerable - in addition to wrongly figuring out what was going on.
  • Angry Black Man: Teen!Gunn was one militant little tyke.
    "I got no problem believin' that The Man is messin' with us!"
  • Becoming the Mask: A tricky variant. Angel was never Liam. Angelus is a demon that imprinted on Liam's memories and possessed his corpse. Angel is this demon cursed with Liam's soul. However, both Angelus and Angel tend to identify as having been Liam at one point, referring to his family as their own. Here, Angel, stripped of all memory except those of Liam at age 17, comes to believe he is the human Liam.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension / Homoerotic Subtext: Teen!Wes is arguing with Teen!Gunn.
    Teen!Cordy: Hey, you two want to stop the homo-erotic buddy cop session long enough to explain this?
  • Birds of a Feather / Freudian Excuse: Teen!Angel doesn't recognise who Connor is, and starts ranting to him about his relationship with his father. Connor can't help noticing how similar Angel's complaints are to some of his own complaints about Angel.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder / Impossibly Cool Weapon: Wesley's wrist-mounted collapsible swords.
  • Bottle Episode: Appropriately enough, "Spin the Bottle" has at least the tendencies of a Bottle Episode — most of the episode takes place in the hotel, with no guest stars and an "amnesia" concept that makes for a low need of special effects.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Lorne speaks directly to the audience, narrating the plot, and even going as far as to say "Well, those were some exciting products. Am I right?" after one of the act breaks.
    • The episode is framed as Lorne addressing the patrons in a bar. The ending pans out to show that the bar is empty, and we were the audience all along.
  • Breather Episode
  • Brick Joke: Fred Talking to Plants for Season 5.
  • Call-Back: The gag about mistaking cars for demons was used in the Buffy episode "Halloween", where Buffy took on the personality of an 18th century noblewoman.
    • The entire episode seems, in a vague way, to be a Call-Back to two Buffy episodes: "Band Candy", where every adult in Sunnydale ate candy that turned them into teenage versions of themselves (albeit with all their adult memories intact); and Tabula Rasa, where one of Willow's spells misfires and causes the Scoobies to lose their memory.
    • Fred mentions having had to take a personality disorder test where she was asked if she wanted to be a florist. This is a reference to the test Willow mentioned in "Doppelgangland".
  • Calling Me a Logarithm: Teen!Wes dubs Teen!Gunn a pugilist after catching his fist to the jaw.
    Teen!Gunn: Oh, your ass better pray I don't look that word up.
  • Closed Circle: Subverted in that everyone assumes they've been locked in — halfway through the episode Teen!Angel just opens the door and walks out, but when he rushes back in to tell them they're surrounded by terrifying 'demons' nobody goes to look for themselves.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The whole point of the episode.
    Teen!Wes: Judging from the amount of facial hair I've grown, we've all been unconscious for at least a month.
    Teen!Cordy: (touches her short hairstyle) Oh, God. Oh, God. My hair. My hair. (crying) The government gave me bad hair.
    Teen!Wes: It's...eh...very attractive. But a clue, nonetheless. Perhaps the whole point of this experiment is hair.
    Teen!Gunn: I vote he's not in charge.
    • Teen!Fred running the cross over her body like a metal detector wand.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Teen!Fred
  • Continuity Nod
  • Corpsing: This episode took much longer to film due to the cast finding it difficult to stop laughing. Amy Acker and Andy Hallett ruined dozens of takes by giggling, and Alexis Denisof and David Boreanaz prolonged shooting for an hour and a half when they couldn't stop laughing. To get the scene, Denisof explains he and Boreanaz resolved not to look at each other; on the DVD Commentary, Joss Whedon points out background shots where Boreanaz is still failing to keep a straight face.
  • Curtain Camouflage: Teen!Fred hiding from Vampire!Angel.
  • Description Cut: Loads as we switch between Narrator!Lorne and the events he's describing.
  • Dirty Coward
    Teen!Gunn: (introducing self) Gunn.
    Teen!Wes: (ducking) Where?!!!
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The amnesiac Fred thinks she may have been abducted by aliens, and rambles about how they must have done terrible things to her naked, helpless body. In response Wesley's wrist-blade pops out spontaneously.
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?: Teenage!Angel, while insulting the "dirty Brit" Wesley, can't understand why he lost his Irish brogue.note 
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Including tying up Lorne.
  • Easy Amnesia: All of the heroes lose their adult memories due to a magical spell, causing them to revert to their teenage selves. The title character then freaks out, partly because his teenage self is from about 1740 and partly because his adult self is a vampire.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned: The trippy sequence when the spell is first cast. Fred asks for weed afterwards, just in case you didn't get the point.
  • Fair for Its Day: Teen!Angel referring to Wes and Gunn as English and a slave, respectively; he holds Gunn in higher regard, for the record.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Teen!Wesley, of course.
    "The simple fact is... the fiend has been under our noses the entire time, waiting for the moment to... (takes cross out of his breast pocket, and puts it in Gunn's face) strike!" (Gunn punches Wesley in the face)
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Liam/Angel.
    Teen!Angel: (after Cordelia turns off a radio) How did—? You stopped the tiny men from singing.
    Teen!Cordy: You really are far from home, aren't you?
  • Five-Man Band: Lampshaded by Gunn.
    Gunn: So, I guess I'm the muscle, huh?
    Wesley: Sorry?
    Gunn: Angel's the man on the card. It's his world. I'm not a leader no more. Don't got that champion's heart like Cordy. And the brains - that was you. So that leaves muscle.
  • Foreshadowing: Our first glimpse of the Beast.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    Teen!Wes: Wyndham-Pryce. (grabs his lapels, puffs up with pride) I am from the Watcher's Academy in southern Hampshire. In fact, I happen to be Head Boy.
    Teen!Cordy: Gee, I wonder how you earned that nickname.
  • Gonna Need More X
    Lorne: Well, the fact is, I had every reason to believe that the spell would work. And it did...after a fashion. (sips drink) Well, what happened during it and what came after... Ooh, I'm gonna need a bigger drink.
  • Greek Chorus: Lorne forms a one-man band version.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Connor re Angel/Cordelia. And Gunn tells Wes to back off from Fred or else.
    Wesley: I'm glad to see you have such faith in your relationship.
  • Hey, That's My Line!
    Teen!Wes: (overly dramatic) All right. I'm going to let you all in on something you may have trouble comprehending. I assure you that however-
    Teen!Gunn: Vampires are real.
    Teen!Wes: I was telling!
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Poor Connor. Engine revving and stuck in park.
  • I Can't See Myself
    Teen!Angel: (looking in the mirror) "I'm invisible!"
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Wesley re helping Fred get revenge. "I did...what you weren't prepared to do."
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Teen!Angel needs an ale.
  • Is This Thing On?
  • Kung Fool: Teen!Wes ka-rate technique.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Lorne turns and comments to the camera during Teen!Gunn and Teen!Wes's argument, talking to the in-universe audience.
  • Love Confession: Averted because Angel Can't Spit It Out (mainly because he can't be sure if Cordelia shared his feelings before her disappearance).
  • Love Triangle: Wesley really isn't interested in defusing the tension with Gunn over Fred.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: Teen!Angel morphing in and out of Game Face in the toilet sounds to Teen!Cordy like he's having A Date with Rosie Palms.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Justified; Fred still dressed next to a shirtless Gunn shows they're not having sex, as opposed to their passion in the previous episode.
  • Modesty Towel: Cordelia decides to shower while she's not in an Abandoned Warehouse, and naturally gets surprised by Angel wearing only a towel.
  • Mood Whiplash: From wacky teenage hijinks to our first glimpse of the first major antagonist for the season, Cordelia leaves the group and Angel is alone and heart-broken, and Lorne, who's also been directly addressing the audience the whole episode closes things out by delivering one of the most somber, heart-breaking monologues on the series.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Fred says something to Lorne in his native language that she thinks means "may your words please the gods." Lorne informs us that what she actually just said was "may you orally pleasure the gods."
  • The Narrator: Lorne
  • The Nicknamer: Teen!Cordy really goes to town — Teen!Fred is "Scarlet O'Please-Shut-Me-Up". Teen!Wes is "Princess Charles" or "Head Cheese". Teen!Gunn is "Hair Club For Men". Teen!Angel is "Tall-Dark-And-Slightly-Less-Pathetic-Than-You-Two".
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Teen!Angel maintains Angel's present-day American accent, and even briefly wonders what's up with his voice. Whedon states that they chose not to use an Irish accent because there was no way that David Boreanaz could sustain it for a full episode.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Cordelia thinks she might have been the subject of workplace harassment from Angel.
    Angel: I was never—in the workplace, I— Well, there was that one time with the ballet and the stripping and the roundness, but that was a spell.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: Played for Drama (Wesley threatening Gunn) then Played for Laughs (Teen!Wes' numerous accidental blade discharges).
  • Obvious Stunt Double: In the scene where Connor and Angel are fighting near the end, there is a portion of the sequence where it is clear the figures are David Boreanaz and Vincent Kartheiser's stunt doubles.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Cordelia getting her memories back.
  • Ontological Mystery: Lampshaded. The cast get Identity Amnesia removing all memories since their teenage years. It's particularly hilarious given that the dour, contemplative Angel was once the hard-drinking thug Liam. Oh, and he doesn't remember he's a vampire.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: "Liam's" confusion at his sudden lack of an accent.
  • Percussive Therapy: Connor working off his sexual frustration (by beating up vamps) and parental issues (by beating up Dad).
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: Teen!Wes keeps having accidental wrist-blade discharges.
    Aargh! (finally getting his sword under control) All right! Nobody scream! Or touch my arms...
  • Rescue Sex: Connor saves a blonde in daisy dukes who's eager to show her appreciation. Unfortunately she turns out to be a prostitute who insists on being paid fifty bucks which Connor doesn't have. Later when Teen!Cordy hints at being very grateful if he kills Vampire!Angel stone dead, Connor is more than eager to oblige.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: During Wes and Gunn's confrontation in the office:
    Gunn: What happened to you, man?
    Wesley: [matter-of-factly] I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Fred and Wesley talk, Gunn is shown between them, standing in the distance.
  • Sarcasm Mode: Cordelia faced with Angel's waffling over last weeks' cliffhanger question.
    Angel: Well, I'm not sure.
    Cordelia: Now, I think that's the sort of thing I'd remember. Hey, maybe you wrote it down somewhere — a note on the fridge, maybe?
  • Screaming Woman: Teen!Cordy's superpower.
    Vampire!Angel: That really is inhuman.
  • Shaped Like Itself
    Lorne: We can stop this talking and cut to the Cordelia Chase in two ticks of a... ticking thing.
  • Something Else Also Rises:
    • Fred theorises that it might be the government and she vocally imagines herself lying naked on an examination table, being probed and prodded, completely at their mercy. Wesley's spring-loaded stake spontaneously pops out of his sleeve.
    Wesley: Let's not give up probe! ...hope! Give up hope!
    • Fred touches Wesley and his long range stake doo-dad suddenly releases, and flies through the air. In the commentary, Joss Whedon says; "You could almost say squirts."
  • Spin the Bottle: Duh.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the parent show's "Tabula Rasa." Both episodes are mostly lighthearted romps involving the main cast having their memories erased or altered and wacky hijinx ensuing as a result, only to pull a complete 180 in the last act and end things on downbeat note.
  • Spot the Imposter / Holy Burns Evil: The gang pass a cross from hand to hand to find out who's the vampire. No-one notices Angel's hand smouldering because Lorne happens to wake up.
  • Shout-Out: Cordelia referring to Fred as Scarlett because of her accent.
  • The Stoner: Fred makes two references to wanting weed, hinting that she may have been a bit less tightly wound when she was younger.
  • Take That!:
    Cordelia: I know my ABC's, my history, I know who's President, and that I sorta wish I didn't.
  • Talk to the Fist: Angel tries to knock out Lorne who's about to blurt out that he's a vampire, but only gives himself away.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: Teen!Wes plays up this trope for all it's worth.
    Teen!Wes: Five people, each unknown to each other, far from home, trapped together at night— (Angel eyes Cordelia's neck as she listens intently to Wes) I submit that the blood-sucking fiend may be closer than we dared suspect. That it may be—
    Teen!Angel: (stands suddenly) I'll search the rooms.
    Teen!Wes: I was getting to the good part!
    Teen!Angel: But we can't just wait for the vampire to appear. I'll just flush him out—
    Teen!Wes: (jumping up and down) ...that it may be one of us!
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Everyone's memory is wiped back to age 17. Wesley, who at that age was head of his class at vampire-hunting school, reckons it's a test: they've been locked in this abandoned building with a vampire, whom they must identify and kill. Angel (who at that age was a living human), in a private moment, looks at a mirror ...
  • The Unpronounceable
    Teen!Wes: (re Lorne) It's... a demon. Probably of the Karathmama...nyuhg family.
  • Visual Innuendo: Teen!Fred thinks that aliens are responsible for their predicament.
    Teen!Fred: I can just see myself lying on a table — no clothes, no will — while they probed and explored and did whatever they wanted to my naked, helpless body. (Wes's dagger accidentally shoots out of his forearm).
    Teen!Wesley: [later] Well, let's not give up probe. (beat) Hope. Give up hope.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: During the acid-trippy sequence the camera cuts to Fred, who is petting a potted fern with fascination. Right before she vomits off to the side.
  • We Used to Be Friends
    Gunn: What happened to you, man?
    Wesley: I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Lorne introduces the Phlebotinum.
    Lorne: A memory spell — provided by one of my clients —- that is guaranteed to bring our Cordy back to the way she was.
    Angel: Guaranteed?
    Lorne: No pain, no side-effects. I'm telling you, swingers, there's no way this can fail.
    Cut to Lorne, narrating
    Lorne: So, I'm an idiot. What are you —- perfect?
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: Teen!Wesley and Teen!Gunn are grappling each other.
    Teen!Cordy: Aren't you going to stop them?
    Teen!Angel: It's about time the English got what was coming to them. I'm rooting for the slave.

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