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Tear Jerker / Angel

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"I'll never forget."

Gunn: What happened to you, man?
Wesley: I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me.
— "Spin the Bottle"

Even for a Joss Whedon series, Angel is often incredibly dark and incredibly sad. While its parent series often used its story as a metaphor for growing up and becoming an adult in the world, Angel is centered more on atonement and people coming to grips with the fraught decisions they make in their lives (and the consequences of those decisions).

Through it all, there's confrontation, betrayal, heartbreak, and a frequent reminder of just how oppressive the forces of darkness can feel when they're at their most powerful. While the show is all about the need to fight back against that evil, inevitably, there is collateral damage. Some of the most wrenching moments are highlighted here.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

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    Season 1
"Is that it? Am I done?"

  • "City of..." (1x01)
    • Doyle's recounting the sad state of Angel's life and peace of mind can feel sobering.
    • Seeing Tina die after how she'd been bonding with Angel and he'd been getting invested in saving her.
  • "In the Dark" (1x03)
    • Angel getting to stand in the sunlight for the first time in over two centuries. Doubles as heartwarming.
  • "Sense & Sensitivity" (1x06)
    • Kate baring her soul to her father while under the influence of the Talking Stick. Sadly, he was not affected. It's a long speech, but it deserves to be told in full:
    Kate: He forgot how to be anything but a cop a long time ago. And maybe - maybe that's-that's why I became a cop, too. After Mom died, you stopped, you know. It was like you couldn't stand the sight of me. Her face, her eyes looking up at you. But big girls don't cry, right? You said, "Gone's gone and there's no use wallowing." Worms and dirt and nothing, forever. Not one word about a better place. You couldn't even tell a scared little girl a beautiful lie. God, I wanted to drink with you. I wanted you to laugh once with me, the way you laugh with Jimmy here, or Frank. My best friend, Joanne, her mom was soft and she smelled like macaroni and cheese and she would - she would pick me up on her lap and she'd rock me. She said she wanted to keep me for herself, that I was good and sweet. Everybody said I was. Do you realize that you've never told me that I'm pretty? Not once in my life?
  • "I Will Remember You" (1x08)
    Buffy: (crying) I'll never forget...I'll never forget...
    • Even worse is the Reality Subtext of that scene: Sarah Michelle Gellar was a strong advocate of the "Buffy and Angel are soulmates" perspective, and as such the tears in that scene are real, because she had a breakdown upon realizing how close the two had gotten to a Happily Ever After. At one point, you can even hear David Boreanaz address SMG out-of-character over this.
    • There's the way it builds up as Angel arrives back. Buffy knows something has happened but it just escalates as she realises that her hope of being with Angel as humans won't ever happen. At first she wails that there's no way she can go on with her life knowing that the chance was ripped away from them. It gets even worse when Angel says that she'll never even remember it. The very last thing she says before time is reset is "I felt your heart beat."
    • Even more heart-breakingly, when Angel tells her that his mortality won't just be reversed - everyone's memories erased - she becomes even more hysterical.
    Buffy: Everything we did?
    Angel: It never happened.
    Buffy: It did! It did. I know it did.
  • "Hero" (1x09)
    • Doyle's Heroic Sacrifice. He finally gives Cordelia the Big Damn Kiss we've been waiting for (although we later find out it does having other motives) and morphs into his demon form - "too bad we'll never know if this is a face you could have learned to love."
    • When Angel and Cordelia watch the video at the end.
    Doyle: Is that it? Am I done?
  • "Parting Gifts" (1x10)
    • Cordelia desperately trying to soldier on after Doyle's death, only to break down crying in the middle of an audition.
    • Wesley going into a brief Heroic BSoD when he has his first real moment of self-awareness and realizes just how thoroughly he screwed up back in Sunnydale. His quiet "I'm a fraud," is heartbreaking. All of his cockiness and arrogance melts away, and we're left looking at a man who has no idea where he belongs anymore, after he's spent his whole life thinking he knew his purpose and his place in the world.
      • Then it turns heartwarming with Angel's gentle encouragement and Dare to Be Badass speech, which snaps Wesley out of his despair and inspires him to help Angel find Cordelia.
  • "The Ring" (1x16)
    • Angel's friend Mellish being sent to fight Trepkos to the death. Even Cribb decries it as an execution. All Angel can do is plead for Trepkos not to kill Mellish, something which, Trepkos cannot do, although it seems to be getting under his skin as well. The Sound-Only Death a pitifully few seconds after the two gladiators enter the ring, and Angel's reaction cement the scenes grimness.
  • "Five By Five " (1x18)
    • Faith's brutal fight with Angel turns into desperate pleas for him to just kill her and be done with it.
      Faith: I'm bad! I'm evil! I'm bad, I'm bad! Angel you hear me, I'm bad! Angel, please... Angel, please just do it. Please, Angel, just do it. Kill me. Please, Angel, just kill me.
    • And then Angel holds her as she sobs with remorse and self-hatred and the rain lashes at them both.
      • It's powerful enough that it stops Wesley in his tracks when he bursts into the alley, knife in hand, prepared to kill Faith for torturing him. He drops the knife, and all he can do is just stand there and watch as Faith sobs into Angel's chest.
  • "Sanctuary " (1x19)
    • Faith's reaction when she sees Buffy.
    Faith: Buffy, I'm sor—
    Buffy: Apologize to me, and I will beat you to death.
    Faith: (very quietly) Go ahead.
    • And then later, we have this:
    Faith: You have no idea what it's like on the other side! Where nothing's in control, nothing makes sense! There is just pain and hate and nothing you do means anything!
    • Seeing things from Buffy's point of view; just how genuinely she wanted to help Faith all along, even after everything that went down with the Mayor, she spent the first half of "This Year's Girl" worried about Faith and wanting to find her. She's always tried to be there for Faith, and Faith has only ever thrown that back in her face. And what's more, when Buffy points that out, Faith can't even give her a genuine apology. It's not hard to see why Buffy's out of chances to give to Faith.
    Buffy (to Faith): I gave you every chance! I tried so hard to help you, and you spat on me. My life was just something for you to play with! Angel, Riley, anything you could take from me, you took. I've lost battles before, but no one's ever made me the victim.
  • "War Zone" (1x20)
    Lenny: What do you want?
    Angel: Big question. What do I want? Love, family, a place on this planet I can call my own.
    • Gunn staking his recently-vamped sister.
    Gunn's friend: You aren't going to kill any vamps?
    Gunn: I already did.

    Season 2
"How did you think this would end?"

  • "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been" (2x02)
    • Angel getting hanged in the flashback. We know he survives, but throughout the whole thing he just stares at Judy with a faint air of confusion, like he can't quite believe his new friend threw him to the wolves. Judy is no better, as the knowledge of the severity of what she's done breaks on her. And after, when the demon manifests, taunts Angel about how there's so, so much paranoia and fear in the hotel it's a buffet for him, and asks what he should do. And Angel, who was just betrayed by what was probably the first person in a good long while he's actually started to like, replies:
    Angel: Take them all.
    • Angel forgiving Judy and staying with her until she dies.
  • "The Trial" (2x09)
    • Darla is brought back from the dead by W&H to bring Angel over to the dark side. It's then revealed that she's still dying of the syphilis that was killing her 400 years earlier (just a little too far gone to be treatable with modern medicine), and desperately tries to become a vampire again. Angel literally gives his life to cure her - only to be told that she already has been brought back to life, and this is her second chance. Hearing this, she finally accepts her mortality...and just then W&H send in Drusilla, and Angel can do nothing but watch as she turns Darla into a monster again.
  • "[1]" (2x10)
    • Dru's breakdown when she reveals how lonely she's been since last we saw her.
    Darla: WHY?
    Drusilla: For you. All for you. I thought it was what you wanted, to be saved. All alone. All alone in the dirt. We've lost our way and the little worm won't dance if he's told to. (Starts to sob) No. No.
  • "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb" (2x22)
    • The massive Mood Whiplash that ends the season. The gang return from Pylea, having defeated the bad guys, freed the slaves, saved both Fred and Lorne, Angel is positively giddy as he throws open the doors ... revealing Willow, looking like she's been crying for a week, sitting in the lobby all alone waiting to deliver the news.
    Angel: ...It's Buffy.

    Season 3

  • "Heartthrob" (3x01)
    • Fred dealing with the aftermath of the years she spent trapped in Pylea. Three months after being rescued, she's still holed up in her room at the Hyperion, refusing to even come downstairs. Angel comes up to see her and finds her writing "listen" over and over on the walls. He asks what it means, and Fred tells him she's listening for the "click" that’s supposed to come when everything makes sense again, but she doesn't know what she’ll do if she runs out of wall space before she gets that click.
      • What makes the scene even sadder is Angel's obvious concern and disappointment as he realizes that her mental state has apparently gotten worse since Pylea.
  • "That Vision Thing" (3x02)
    • Cordy suffering from the pain inflicted by the torturous visions sent to her by Wolfram & Hart.
    Cordy: Am I a bad person? Am I just a horrible person? Because I know I can be snippy sometimes.
    Angel: This isn't happening because you're bad - If anything it's because you're strong. Stronger than you realize.
    Cordy: I'm not—I know what I said earlier, but I don't want the visions anymore. I tried to be brave. I did. But I'm just scared now. I'm scared all the time. (does her best not to cry) I mean look at me!
  • "Carpe Noctem" (3x04)
    • The old man who body-swapped himself with Angel getting Fred’s hopes up, only to turn around and snog Lilah as soon as Fred leaves the room. Fred comes back downstairs and sees what’s happening and just loses it, and Cordelia finds her in the elevator crying a little while later.
  • "Fredless" (3x05)
    • Fred's complete breakdown when her parents find her at the bus station, and she reveals that she was trying to run away from them because she didn't want them to see that she'd gone crazy.
    Fred: No! You're not here! Go away!
    Trish: Fred, honey, it's us.
    Fred: You're not them, you can't be them! You're not them cuz they don't know!
    Roger: Sweetie, it mom and dad.
    Fred: Shhh! Stop saying that! You can't be!
    Trish: Honey, don't you remember us?
    Fred: I was—I was—five years and—and so lost and—and at night I would—I was all by myself and you weren't there!
    Roger: Fred, I don't understand.
    Fred: I got lost! I got lost and they did terrible things to me, but—but it was just a storybook! It was just a story with monsters—not real! Not in the world, but—but if you're here and you see me then—then it's real! And it did happen! If you see what they made of me... (sobs) ...I didn't mean to get so lost!
    • And her poor parents...finding out after five years that their daughter is alive, and when they come to find her, they don't know what happened—just that she doesn't want to see them. They're so clearly distraught, wondering if she doesn't remember them, and hearing how their daughter had awful things done to her.
    • Fred's mom hugging her and telling her, "It doesn't matter what they did to you! You're still my little girl! I'll make it all better!"
  • "Billy" (3x06)
    • Fred coming to see Wesley and entreating him to come back to work, and him being so ashamed about what he did while under Billy's control.
      • The most heartbreaking part is right at the end, when Fred leaves and Wesley closes the door behind her and just leans against the doorframe, quietly crying. Then it cuts to the hallway outside, where Fred stops and turns around and listens to his choked sobs with the most pained look on her face.
  • "Offspring" (3x07)
    • When Angel is this close to staking Darla, then he feels the baby's heartbeat. He backs up, staring at her belly and Darla flips the hell out.
    Darla: Do it! Do it! Make it stop! (Angel pins her arms to her sides and pulls her up against his chest.)
    Angel: No it won't, Darla. Darla, listen to me.
    Darla: Make it stop! Make it stop.
    Angel: The child. The child has a heartbeat. It has a soul.
    Darla: No! Not my child! No!
    Angel: Our child. Our child. Our child. That's why you've been craving purer and purer blood. That's why it's been driving you out of your mind. It has a soul!
    Darla: (sobbing) No, it doesn't.
    Angel: It does.
    Darla: It can't.
    Angel: Yes, it does. It does.
  • "Lullaby" (3x09)
    • Darla realizing that the only reason she loves her baby is because his soul is inside of least while she's pregnant. She breaks down because she realizes that the soul will go away when the baby is born:
    Darla: Angel, I don't have a soul. It does, and right now, that soul is inside of me. But soon, it won't be, and then—
    Angel: Darla...
    Darla: ...I won't be able to love it. (begins sobbing) I won't even be able to remember that I loved it. And I wanna remember! (breaks down in Angel's arms)
    • And then later, Darla, completely broken, makes Angel promise to protect the baby from her.
    • Darla staking herself to give birth to Connor.
    • The flashback scene where Holtz kills Sarah, his five-year-old-daughter-turned-vampire. At the start of the scene, Sarah is cowering in a corner to avoid the sunlight. Holtz comes over, picks her up, and throws her outside where she burns up.
  • "Waiting in the Wings" (3x13)
    I don't dance. I echo.
    • The look of absolute, crushing despair on Wesley’s face when he sees Fred kissing Gunn.
      • Then the last scene, where Fred glances over her shoulder and smiles innocently at Wesley, completely oblivious to the fact that she’s just broken his heart, and he just sits there with the most quietly devastated look on his face.
  • "Couplet" (3x14)
    • For context: Angel has been coping all episode with Cordelia pretty much exchanging him for Groo. At the very end, he's cradling baby Connor in his arms, and bumps into Wesley:
    Wesley: ...Oh. I thought I was alone.
    Angel: (looks at Connor) So did I.
    (Wesley covers a tablet he's just decoded: the Father shall kill the Son)
  • "Loyalty" (3x15)
    • Angel's hockey speech becomes pretty sad in hindsight, precisely because you know he’ll never get to see any of the things he talks about so excitedly here.
    Angel: I know it's a little bit too early to be thinking about stuff like this, but I -I can't wait to watch him, you know, grow up. For him to lose his first tooth. Learn how to ride a bike. Ha. I want to help him pick out a tux for his senior prom. I just can't wait to see who he's gonna to be. I know it's mushy, but it's just... He makes me so happy...I think Connor? He's gonna be center, you know?
    • This episode is full of painful speeches.
    Angel: It scares me. You know? If anything like that ever happened to Connor, I don't know what I'd...I love my son.
    Wesley: Love can be a terrible thing.
    Angel: I used to think that. I thought love was—something that swallowed you whole, ripped you up inside, but, you know, what I feel for Connor, even that fear...Wes, it's-—it's not terrible. It's beautiful.
    • After hearing that, Wesley starts laughing with relief and talking about how life is funny, and for one brief moment, as he sees how much Angel loves Connor, Wes decides that he was worried for nothing. His reprieve is short-lived however, because immediately after that, he witnesses all three of the portents the Loa warned him about happen in rapid succession, and the episode ends with Wesley looking on with horror, more certain than ever that Angel is going to kill Connor.
    • Angel's "love is beautiful" speech gets so much worse when you rewatch it and realize that Connor isn't coming back. You're watching Angel at his happiest, only now it's with a heaping dose of Foregone Conclusion, and instead of the intended heartwarming all you feel is pain.
  • "Sleep Tight" (3x16)
    • At the end, when Angel has to let Holtz take Connor in order to keep him away from Wolfram & Hart, and then Holtz jumps into the portal to Quor'toth, sealing it behind him and leaving Angel lying on the ground, crying for his son.
    • While everyone else just walks away:
    Commander: Should we do something about... (indicates Angel, still staring in shock at where the portal just disappeared)
    Lilah: (looks back at Angel) Yes, we should. We should let him suffer.
    • And consider what Connor meant to Angel: aside from being his son, he represented everything about Angel that was good. He proved to Angel that past be damned, Angel could literally create something with a soul. He made Darla feel love. He was someone that Angel could raise to be truly good, a chance for Angel to prove himself as something more than just the monster people remembered. Connor was a major step on Angel’s road to repentance—and then he was gone and there went Angel’s redemption, quite literally into Hell.
      • To make it even worse, look at Angel's face in the Buffy episode "Bad Eggs"" when he tells Buffy that vampires can’t have children. There is pain in those puppy-dog eyes. And remember one of the reasons he gives for breaking up with Buffy in "The Prom" was so that she should find a man who can have children with her. Buffy is askance at that bit ("I killed my goldfish!"), but Angel holds firm. This vampire actively wants kids. And then, within the space of a few episodes, Angel learns that he’s going to have a son, proves himself to be an amazing (and fairly dorky) dad, and then proceeds to lose his son to treachery, bad parenting in a Hell dimension, and for-Connor’s-own-good memory wiping.
  • "Forgiving" (3x17)
    • The look on Wesley's face as Angel is pulled off of him after trying to kill him is equal parts terrified and utterly heartbroken. Wesley sacrificed everything to try to keep Connor safe, and all he got for his trouble was a slit throat from his enemy and hatred from his friends.
      • Not just that, but also from Angel's perspective. Wesley was one of his best friends, to the point that when Angel returned to the gang the previous season, he was completely okay with Wesley taking the lead and being the official "boss" for Angel Investigations. But he didn't trust Angel enough to come to him about this, to trust Angel enough to talk to anyone. As far as Angel is concerned, this was a betrayal from someone close enough he may as well have called brother. Small wonder Angel is ready to kill him.
      • Really, those last few minutes are horrible for the group. This is effectively the moment that the gang fractures and they never really manage to heal from it.
  • "Double or Nothing" (3x18)
    • Fred going to see Wesley in the hospital and telling him that the prophecy was a lie and that what he did was All for Nothing, and telling him not to come back to the hotel because Angel still wants to kill him. Wesley can't even talk in this scene, but the pain in his eyes speaks volumes.
    • Later, a nurse comes in and tells Wesley he's going to be released that day, and asks if he has any friends or family who could pick him up. He doesn't respond, but you realize that at this point he has completely alienated every single friend he has and he's got no one.
      • A few scenes later, he walks into his apartment and leans against the wall and just stands there in the dark, and you really start to get a sense of how alone he truly is.
    • Gunn cruelly insulting Fred so he can break up with her in order to save her. Even if he didn't mean it, that was harsh.
    • The scene where Angel starts dismantling Connor's cot may well be one of the saddest moments in television history.
  • "The Price" (3x19)
    • When the team is helping Angel fix the damage the earthquake caused in his room, he finds a snowglobe he had bought for Connor.
    Angel: Don't know why I bought this for him. A whim, I guess...thought he'd like to look at it. The snow. Doesn't ever snow in Southern California.
    Cordelia: Did, once.
    • That probably wasn't the only time Angel thought he'd finished putting away Connor's things, only to find something lurking under a couch cushion or somewhere.
    • When Gunn goes to him for help, Wesley, finally able to talk again, explains that the only thing that gave him the will to live and the strength to keep fighting after getting his throat cut was the thought of his friends. That would be heartwarming, if not for the fact that his friends all hate him now.
  • "A New World" (3x20)
    • Connor finding Sunny dead, having overdosed on crack. This is after she became his first friend after he spent sixteen years living with a sadistic kidnapper in Quor-Toth.
    "Sunny was nice. And now she's dead..."
  • "Benediction" (3x21)
    • There's a brief scene where Wesley is at home with his dinner table impeccably set, candles lit, but he's all alone and eating a microwave dinner. I've never seen a show communicate so effectively just how low someone has fallen.
  • "Tomorrow" (3x22)
    • Groo realising that Cordy's heart belongs to Angel and just leaving.
    • Connor sinking Angel to the bottom of the ocean.
    • Cordelia ascending to become a higher being on her way to meet with Angel.

    Season 4
"You couldn't save me from me."

  • "Ground State" (4x02)
    • Gwen's introductory scene is a flashback to when she was a little girl. Forget all about Gwen later on; here she's just a scared little girl being left at a strange new school, with parents who obviously love her deeply but don't have the slightest clue how to deal with a child they can't even hug. Then as she's being led away towards the school she looks back towards her parents, they turn to leave, and she tries to take the teacher's hand for comfort, but the woman just smacks her hand away and says "No, Gwen."
    • The gang cleaning out Cordelia's apartment. Particularly given that it means leaving Phantom Dennis there alone, and he's obviously not taking it well.
  • "Spin the Bottle" (4x06)
    • Gunn and Wesley's conversation in Angel's office. It's heartbreaking to see the amount of animosity between the two of them, especially when you remember how close they used to be back in Season 2.
      Gunn: What happened to you, man?
      Wesley: I had my throat cut and all my friends abandoned me.
      • In the DVD Commentary, Joss Whedon said they had to do several takes to get that line just right, because they didn't want it to sound bitter or self-pitying, but on the other hand, they didn't want it to come across as vaguely threatening either. It's just an acknowledgement. Wesley's not looking to place blame or get sympathy, he's just answering Gunn's question.
    • The denouement in the last scene. Amazing how one of the funniest episodes in the series has one of the most depressing endings in television history. Lorne's speech at the end and the camera panning across the empty lounge is so heartbreaking to watch.
  • "Salvage" (4x13)
    • The ridiculously depressing scene where Wesley talks to his hallucination of Lilah after her death. Alas, Poor Villain does not begin to cover it.
      Lilah: Why so glum? It is kinda what you wanted, isn't it? I mean, deep down. Me out of the picture utterly, finally. You can't get outer than this. It makes your life simpler, doesn't it? Cleaner?
      Wesley: I didn't want this.
      Lilah: Come on, what are you worried about, Wesley? You hated yourself for being with me. Or maybe you just hated yourself for loving being with me. (laughs) Hey, semantics. In any case, we both knew, sooner or later, it would come to a messy end. For one of us, anyway. (pulls him to face her; she touches his face and arms) So ease up on that furrowed brow. You're free now. No longer encumbered with the secret shame of our relationship.
      Wesley: It wasn't a relationship.
      Lilah: There's a signed dollar bill in your wallet I think proves different. You knew how I felt.
      Wesley: You don't feel.
      Lilah: The only true thing I ever—
      Wesley: You didn't love me! You couldn't.
      Lilah: We'll never know now, will we? I know what it is. The reason you're having such a hard time with this. Why you're taking so long to - you know..." (makes a creaking noise as she gestures across her throat with her hand) The awful truth: you couldn't save me. And this is the exclamation point.
      Wesley: Saved you from the Beast, for all the good it did.
      Lilah: Wesley, you know that's not what I'm talking about. You couldn't save me from me.
      Wesley: Is that what you thought?
      Lilah: Me? (laughs) Lover, I'm not even here. I'm just a figment in your devilishly handsome head. So, clearly, it's what you thought. For all your supposed darkness, edge of the razor mystique, there was always a small part of you that thought you could pull me back from the brink of my evil, evil ways. Help me find redemption.
      Wesley: Redemption?
      Lilah: Angel's influence, I suppose. The whole not giving up on someone, no matter how far he - or she - has fallen. Oh, well. Too late for me. Let's just get it over with. That body's not gonna dismember itself, you know.
      Wesley: I'm sorry, Lilah.
      Lilah: Oh, Wes, we don't have that word in our vocabulary. Not people like you and—
      (the axe swings forward)
  • "Release" (4x14)
    • Faith, bruised and bloody, breaking down in the shower and punching through the wall while letting out a pained and desperate primal scream.
  • "Inside Out" (4x17)
    • Darla comes back as a ghost and tries to persuade Connor not to perform a Virgin Sacrifice. In the end, Connor chooses Cordelia and screams, "You're not my mother!" causing Darla to disappear.
  • "Peace Out" (4x21)
    • It's hard not to feel bad for Jasmine while she despondently wanders the streets of Los Angeles as the city riots.
    • Whatever you may think of him as a character, Connor's scene in the church with a still-comatose Cordelia is absolutely heartwrenching. He allowed himself to believe in Jasmine because he wanted to feel that sense of belonging that the rest of the population did, stemming back to his core desire for a family that's been torn away from him at every possible turn in his life. He admits that he just feels empty inside and doesn't have a reason to fight anymore, and that his entire life has been built on lies.
  • "Home" (4x22)
    • Wesley burning Lilah's contract to try and free her. It doesn't work, but it's both heartbreaking and heartwarming to see Lilah, Magnificent Bitch extraordinaire, so obviously moved.
    Lilah: Flames wouldn't be eternal if they actually consumed anything...but it means something, that you tried.
    • Connor, utterly broken, revealing just how much he wishes Angel would have stopped Holtz from taking him. The boy's brokenness and Angel's choked up reaction to it is just painful to watch.
      Angel: I do love you, Connor—
      Connor: But not enough to hold on, dad. You let him take me... (starts to cry) You let him get me...
      Angel: (stares silently, lips quivering like he's about to cry himself)
    • The last scene, where Angel is looking in at the happy, laughing Connor with his new family.

    Season 5
"Please, Wesley. Why can't I stay?"

  • "Just Rewards" (5x02)
    • Spike confessing to Fred that each time he disappears, he is getting pulled into hell. He realizes that after all he's done, winning back his soul and sacrificing himself to save the world, he still can't save himself.
  • "Hell Bound" (5x04)
    • Spike agreeing that he deserves to go to Hell and the look of pure terror on his face as he experiences most of the episode.
  • "Lineage" (5x07)
    • Seeing Wesley's relationship with his father onscreen for the first time. Wesley spent his entire life fearing and trying to prove himself to Roger, who cynically downplayed all his son's accomplishments, and basically belittled him in every way possible.
    • There's a part near the beginning where Wesley bumps into a woman and makes her drop her papers, and he stammers out an apology as he tries to help her pick them up. After all his Character Development, after all the frankly amazing things he's done since joining Angel Investigations, we're suddenly seeing this clumsy, awkward side of him again, all because his father's there and Wesley can't help but regress to the person he used to be while in Roger's presence. It's in this moment that you start to realize just how atrocious a father Roger Wyndam-Pryce must've been, and how horrible Wesley's childhood was.
    • At the episode's climax, Roger threatens Fred, and Wesley guns him down mid-sentence, and it's revealed that his "father" was a cyborg duplicate. Later, Fred tries to comfort Wesley, telling him that somehow he must have known it wasn't him...but Wesley says he was certain it was Roger. He was willing to kill his own father to save the woman he loved, and it wasn't some kind of chivalrous moment—it was a sign of how far he'd fallen, that even his love for Fred provoked such darkness from him. Quietly desperate, he calls his father up, just to talk, but the man rebukes his son for calling him too late at night and waking him.
    • Just the fact that the cyborg—with all of his snide remarks and backhanded compliments—was convincing enough to have Wesley fooled is a testament to what a crappy guy the real Roger is.
      • For comparison, look at the Supernatural episode where Sam and Dean figure out that their father has been demon possessed because he let something slide that he normally wouldn't. The demon was too nice to be able to pass convincingly as John Winchester. But this cyborg was so much like the real Roger Wyndam-Pryce that even a death threat towards his own son seemed well within the realm of possibility to Wesley.
    • This episode also sheds light on something Wesley said back in Season 3. In "Loyalty", when Angel was talking about how much he loved Connor, Wesley remarked that love could be a terrible thing. Fridge Brilliance sets in when you realize that Wesley views love as something terrible because it's the only way he's ever seen it expressed. Assuming he ever heard Roger say "I love you" in the first place, it was probably always in the form of, "I'm being hard on you because I love you" or something similar. Then when Wesley grew up and tried to express any kind of love himself, it never went well. His love for his job as a Watcher made him arrogant and unlikeable; his love for Connor led him to betray his team; his love for Fred made him obsessive, ruined one of his closest friendships, and prompted him to empty nine bullets into the man he fully believed to be his father. Of course Wesley thinks love is terrible—every time he's tried to love anything, it's always gone horribly wrong.
Harm's Way" (5x09)
  • Harmony being ignored by some of the other secretaries.
  • The look on Harmony's face as she says that she doesn't have a soul, so she has to try a lot harder.
  • Spike deciding he shouldn't go after Buffy.
  • "Soul Purpose" (5x10)
    • One of Angel's hallucinations while he's under the influence of Eve's bug demon parasite thing. He dreams that Spike saves the world and becomes human again as a reward. Angel becomes the mail-cart guy and can only stand in silence as his rival receives everything Angel ever wanted. The absolutely crushed look on his face as he leaves and pushes his cart away is pretty damn sad.
  • "Damage" (5x11)
    • After Dana the insane Slayer has been carted off, Angel and Spike have a somber discussion in Spike's hospital room about the nature of evil, finishing up with the absolute heartbreaker:
    Spike: The tingling in my forearms tells me she's too far gone to help. She's one of us now. She's a monster.
    Angel: She's an innocent victim.
    Spike: So were we, once upon a time.
    Angel: Once upon a time.
    • Spike spends the bulk of the episode telling Dana that she's got the wrong guy. Eventually he realizes that it doesn't matter, because even though he never did anything to her, he's done plenty worse to other people.
    • Andrew tells Angel that none of the Sunnydale crew trust him anymore due to him running Wolfram & Hart. Especially Buffy, who instructed him to bring Dana in. Keep in mind, she was quick to forgive him for his misdeeds as Angelus and the others eventually followed suit.
  • "You're Welcome" (5x12)
    • Angel and Cordelia's final scene ever.
    Cordelia: Oh, and you're welcome.
    • Right before that:
      Cordelia: Oh, and Wesley? You still work the best mojo in town.
      • She obviously couldn’t say goodbye to everyone without raising their suspicions, and she needed to spend her last few corporeal moments with Angel, so it really says a lot that out of everyone else, she singled out Wesley to say one last thing to. Because while Angel may have been Cordelia’s lover, Wesley was her best friend.
      • According to Charisma Carpenter, she and David Boreanaz spent several hours crying together during their final scene.
    • Cordelia apologizing to Wesley for the death of Lilah. While she wasn't in control when Jasmine stabbed Lilah, and she may have just been giving her condolences to one of her oldest friends, it's possible she harbors some guilt for what happened anyway. It's also one of the only times anyone truly acknowledged what the loss meant to Wesley.
  • "Why We Fight" (5x13)
    • This one is an incredibly low-key yet tragic episode. The villain, Sam Lawson, is a man that Angel sired during World War II when he was enlisted to help men on a submarine. Lawson was mortally wounded while the submarine was damaged, and Angel had to sire him since he was the only one able to repair it and get them to the surface. Since we get to know Sam throughout the flashback, we see that he was just a young man who wanted to serve his country and find a purpose in life. Angel is clearly troubled by having to do this, and allows him to go free after he's saved everyone. But it's revealed that, since Angel had a soul when he sired him, Lawson can't get any pleasure from killing. So this puts him forever in a limbo between good and evil, unable to be either.
    • He describes his dying thoughts when he was first stabbed, saying that he expected to remember good memories—such as his mother or his best friends. Instead he says his only thoughts were "Wow, this really sucks."
    • It's also heavily implied that he came to see Angel looking for a Mercy Kill. His final words are "Give me another mission, chief." Also shortly before this, Lawson asks if he has a soul too because Angel does. Angel sadly says "I don't think it works that way."
  • "A Hole in the World" (5x15)
    • The whole damn episode!
    • Fred sings one line of "You Are My Sunshine," and we see Lorne's look of absolute horror as he sees everything that is about to happen but there is nothing he can do about it.
      • And before he can say anything, before the audience can fully react to the sheer Oh, Crap! on his face, Fred coughs up blood right on Wesley's face and collapses into Lorne's waiting arms. Mood Whiplash is an understatement.
    • The team gathers together to plan how to save Fred—more down to business than they have ever been. As they are about to go their separate ways:
    Angel: Good. Guys...
    Wesley: You don't have to say it.
    Angel: I'll say it anyway. Winifred Burkle. Go.
    • Angel and Spike on the plane.
    Angel: Can't lose her, Spike.
    Spike: You won't.
    Angel: I lost Cordy.
    • "What a very scared I am."
    • The rest of the team having to watch, pretty much completely helpless, as Fred dies. Wesley has it worse than the others, since he stays with her the whole time and actually sees the progression of Illyria's virus as it slowly destroys Fred from the inside out.
    • Spike’s "there’s a hole in the world" speech from which the episode draws is name is especially moving. It’s just so profound in its simplicity.
      • What makes it so powerful is the way he says it, speaking with an almost childlike wonder. Joss Whedon specifically points it out in the commentary, and says they intentionally had James Marsters say it that way.
    • Angel and Spike having to deal with the fact that they chose not to save her, because the cost would have been too great. They had to stand there and let Fred die because it was the right thing to do, as horrible as it was.
    • Fred crying out for Feigenbaum, her stuffed rabbit, while she's laying there with her insides liquefying. What makes her pleas for Feigenbaum especially heartbreaking is that she doesn't remember who he is any more, just that she needs him. It's not just that she's dying, or that she's dying painfully, it's that as it happens, everything about her is going away, forever, not even leaving her soul behind.
    • Wesley using the templates (books that could become any book in the world) to read A Little Princess to Fred as she lay dying.
    • Angel and Spike's hilarious debate comes back as one of the most heartbreaking brick jokes in television history.
    Fred: Cavemen win. Of course the cavemen win.
    • Fred addresses Illyria directly twice as the god-king is taking her over. The first time, Fred points to Wesley and yells "I'm with him!" The second time, she places Wesley's hand over her heart and quietly whispers "He's with me."
    • Fred desperately trying to be brave as she's facing the final stages of the disease.
    Fred: My boys. I walk with heroes. Think about that.
    Wesley: (choked sob) You are one.
    • And finally, Fred's death scene.
    Fred: Would you have loved me?
    Wesley: I've loved you since I've known you. No, that's not—I think maybe even before.
    Fred: I'm so sorry—
    Wesley: No, no, no...
    Fred: (crying) I need you to talk to my parents. Th-they have to know I wasn't scared, th-that it was quick. That I wasn't scared.
    Wesley: You have to fight. You don't have to talk. Just concentrate on fighting. Just hold on.
    Fred: I'm not scared. I'm not scared. I'm not scared. Please, Wesley. Why can't I stay?
    • Then Fred breathes her last, leaving Wesley quietly sobbing as he cradles her lifeless body.
    • In the DVD Commentary, Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof both stated several times that all of their tears throughout the episode were real.
  • "Shells" (5x16)
    • Gunn approaching the evil-medical-law-guy to try and undo the damage:
    Gunn: Take it back. All of it, the law language, take it back. Take more! Leave me a vegetable! I don't care, just bring her back!
    • Later, when Harmony goes to see him:
      Harmony: Why'd you do it?
      Gunn: Because I was scared. Because I didn't want to lose it. Because I didn't want to go back to being just the muscle. Because of a million reasons that don't mean a damn thing because she's gone.
      • It gets worse when the normally airheaded Harmony simply acknowledges his sadness and comforts him.
    • Alexis Denisof deserves a truckload of Emmys for his performance in this episode. Especially the scene where Wesley goes back to Wolfram & Hart and has to tell the others that Fred is dead.
    Gunn: I know how you feel—
    Wesley: You know? You didn't feel her die. She was shaking with pain, and terrified, and so brave. She was better than anyone I've known. Better than—she's gone.
    • This part
    Illyria: My world is gone.
    Wesley: Now you know how I feel.
    • Wesley and Illyria's final exchange of the episode.
    Illyria: We cling to what is gone. Is there anything in this life but grief?
    Wesley: There’s love. There’s hope… for some. There’s hope that you’ll find something worthy… that your life will lead you to some joy… that after everything… you can still be surprised.
    Illyria: Is that enough? Is that enough to live on?
    • The song that plays at the end, over a montage of the rest of team trying to cope with Fred's death, and a flashback to a younger, happy Fred hugging her parents goodbye and leaving for L.A.
      • The song is "A Place Called Home" by Kim Richey, and is a Tear Jerker in its own right, especially since lyrically it's so damn hopeful.
  • "Underneath" (5x17)
    • Even Lorne gets a heartbreaking scene at the beginning of this episode, when he's reading the bartender at the bar where he's drowning his sorrows.
  • "Origin" (5x18)
    • Wesley smashes the Orlon Window, thinking it might bring Fred back. Instead, it undoes all of his altered memories, and everything Cyvus Vail has erased—Connor, Wesley's betrayal and separation from the team, Angel trying to kill him—all comes flooding back to him. When it's over, Wesley just lays there, staring at Angel with a horrified look on his face, as he realizes that Angel has been carrying the burden of these memories—and the knowledge of what Wesley did—alone for all this time.
    • Connor's farewell to Angel.
      Connor: You gotta do what you can to protect your family. I learned that from my father.
      • This is especially poignant after you watch the series finale and realize that at this point, Connor knows Angel is his real father.
  • "Time Bomb" (5x19)
    • Gunn revealing how his hand in Fred's death and his attempt at penance by staying in the hell dimension have left him completely disillusioned from what he believed they were doing at Wolfram and Hart.
    Gunn: You know what the worst part of that place was? It wasn't that basement. At least there you knew where you stood. Demon was gonna cut your heart out and show it to you. Nah. It was the fake life they gave you upstairs. Wife, kids, all the icing on the family cake... but somewhere underneath it, there was the nagging certainty that it was all lies, that all the smiles and the birthday candles and the homework were just there to hide the horror. Is that all we're doing here? Just hiding the horror?...Cuz I don't think I can stomach it anymore, not after all that's happened.
  • "The Girl in Question" (5x20)
    • Every second Wesley is on screen, from trying to spare both himself and Fred's parents by keeping her death a secret, to watching his pained expressions while Illyria is posing as Fred, to warning Illyria to never take Fred's form again (which is only Harsher in Hindsight come the finale.)
  • "Not Fade Away" (5x22)
    • Wesley's death, especially the part where Illyria turns back into Fred for him.
    Illyria: Would you like me to lie to you now?
    Wesley: Yes. Thank you, yes.
    • What's especially tear-jerking is the fact that he asks her to lie to him. This is after demanding that she never do such a thing again after she did so earlier. But for his last moments, he wanted the lie.
    • The fact that when Illyria is talking to Wes as Fred as he dies, and comforts him by assuring him that they'll be together soon, she's lying. Fred's soul was entirely destroyed when she died, so there's nothing left of her, even in the afterlife.
    • As Wesley dies, Illyria is sobbing "oh my love." That doesn't sound like Fred inside Illyria talking, it's the grief of the demon-king itself for a mortal love. Thank you, Mayfly–December Romance and Joss Whedon, thank you, you've brought down Cthulhu!
    • And then this. The demon-king grieves.
    Illyria: Wesley's dead. I'm feeling grief for him. I can't seem to control it.
    • As the gang leaves, Wes and Gunn briefly shake hands, a small reaffirming of their friendship. Knowing what happens to Wes, it becomes sad. When Gunn learns that Wesley didn't make it, he loses it.
    • Spike in that little cafe reciting his poetry. It was really kind of sweet that that's what he wanted to do with what might've been his last day on earth.
    • Lorne's finale—Although a member of team Angel, he's always been a pacifist, and then he kills Lindsey. Worse, he says that he read this fate for Lindsey when he sang. Lorne had known for years that he would be the one to kill Lindsey.
      Lorne: That's all, folks.
    • And Harsher in Hindsight kicks in, following Andy Hallet's passing a few years later.
    • Quite possibly the only example that doubles as a Moment of Awesome: The very last scene, where Angel and the remnants of the group stand there, waiting to take on the incoming army. Knowing damn well there's no way they're going to survive and Angel closing the series with "Let's get to work," and the show ending with swords clashing.

  • From After the Fall
    • When Angel is dying, and, later when Connor does. Also when Jeremy dies in Spike: After the Fall.
    • Wesley's final goodbye to Angel is this, though Spike quickly ruins the moment.
      Spike: "What was that? If he (ghost!Wes) wasn't see-through, you would have kissed wouldn't you? I got that vibe."
    • One scene has Illyria getting angry about those she cares about dying as Ghost!Wes disappears; a few panels later, a sign is shown with "Doyle" written on it.
    • When Angel is reunited with Connor who had previously died]], it's not a sad moment, but Angel is so happy that [[Manly Tears he's crying.
    • Gunn just wanting to die after what he's done.
    • Drusilla getting a soul again, it's only for a few moments but her despair and guilt is very visible.


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