Season 5 Episode 15

A Hole in the World

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 25, 2004 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
641 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

When Fred opens up an ancient sarcophagus that was anonymously sent to her, she is infected by a mysterious parasitic demon called Illyria. Angel and Spike learn that Illyria is an ancient demon who existed before recorded time, and they must race to return her to an ancient demon burial ground before she kills Fred and thousands of other innocent victims.moreless

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  • The tragedy of AI


    The Good;

    Some very worthy stuff here, lovely Spike/Angel and Fred/Wes stuff. Gunn starts to realise the price he's paid for his mind upgrade. Especially love the moment when Fred sings and Lorne reacts, reading her future.

    The Bad;

    The White Room scene seems very unnecessary

    Best line; has to be;

    Fred; "Wesley, why can't I stay?"

    Jeez, how did they get away with that?

    Considering what happened to Glenn Quinn the Burkles remarks about 'Junkie movie stars' are a little tasteless. Also Wes kneecapping the guy who just wanted his fax. Needless to say, hard to watch Fred suffer.

    Apocalypses: 5

    Angel Cliches

    Subverting the Hollywood cliche;

    Fred isn't concerned by the sword sticking through Angel but wants the specimen on it

    In disguise; 8

    DB/JM get's his shirt off; 18,

    Cheap Angel; 8

    Fang Gang in bondage:

    Cordy: 5

    Angel: 15

    Wes: 8

    Gunn; 8

    Lorne; 6

    Fred; 5

    Spike; 6

    Fang gang knocked out: Fred passes out

    Cordy: 15

    Angel: 20

    Wes: 9

    Doyle; 1

    Gunn; 4

    Lorne; 8

    Groo; 1

    Connor; 1

    Faith; 1

    Fred; 7

    Spike; 5

    Kills; going to let Fred go out with a bang and give her a dozen demon babies from the nest. Also one for Wes and one for Spike. 4 of Drogyn's demon guards each for Spike and Angel.

    Cordy: 5 vamps, 3 demons

    Angel; 48 vamps, 67 and 1/2 demons, 5 zombies, 12 humans, one werewolf and one cyborg

    Doyle; 1 vamp

    Wes; 16 demons+5 vamps, 5 zombies, 3 humans, 2 cyborgs

    Kate; 3 vamps

    Faith; 18 vamps, 6 demons, 3 humans.

    Gunn; 11 vamps+ 15 demons, 5 zombies, 1 human.

    Groo; 1 demon

    Fred; 3 vamps+ 14 demons, 5 zombies

    Connor; 16 vamps, 5 zombies, 2 demons, Jasmine

    Spike; 21 vamps, 12 demons+1 human+one parasite

    Fang Gang go evil:

    Cordy: 3

    Angel: 3

    Gunn; 1

    Wes; 1

    Alternate Fang Gang; Fred to Illyria

    Cordy: 4

    Angel: 12

    Fred; 3

    Wes; 1

    Gunn; 1

    Connor; 1

    Lorne; 1

    Characters killed:


    Recurring characters killed; goodbye Fred, liked you but never loved you as I did say Willow. Still, sad to see you go.


    Total number of Angel Investigations; 5,

    Angel, Gunn, Lorne, Wes, Spike

    Angel Investigations shot:

    Angel: 14

    Wes; 2

    Packing heat; literally as here we have Fred as Ripley (before Alien3 ruined the series) packing a flamethrower whilst Wes has his shotgun and a 45 later

    Wes; 12

    Doyle; 1

    Angel; 4

    Gunn; 3

    Fred; 5

    Notches on Fang Gang bedpost: Do Wes and Fred have sex? She implies he's never been there before, do they have sex? Maybe

    Cordy: 5 ?+Wilson/Hacksaw Beast+Phantom Dennis+Groo+Connor plus possibly the Beast

    Angel: 6; Buffy, Darla, The Transcending Furies, Eve

    Wes; 3 definite; Virginia, the bleached blonde and Lilah, 2 possible, Justine, Fred

    Gunn; 2 Fred and Gwen.

    Fred; 1 Gunn, 1 possible Wes

    Groo; 1Cordy

    Spike; 3-Buffy, Anya, Harmony

    Kinky dinky:

    Fred hints she's had group sex with the varsity lacrosse team. She says she's joking but you know she was doing a lot of weed back then. Fred is in effect orally raped by the essence of Illyria which then gestates inside her, taking over her body (again, very like Aliens)

    Captain Subtext;

    Spike; "You think we should annoy other people?" Couple or what? Spike thinks James Bond's tux is poncey. Say that to his face? Angel doesn't know about Wes/Fred just as he didn't know about Fred/Gunn. Spike and Angel hold hands, hmmmm? They refer to St Petersberg where Anyanka and Halfyrek also hung out, wonder if it was at the same time?

    Know the face, different character; 7

    Parking garages;


    Guantanamo Bay;

    Lorne hits Eve. Didn't see that coming just as Lindsey won't in NFA

    Buffy characters on Angel; 17

    Wetherby, Collins and Smith. Angel, Cordy, Oz, Spike, Buffy, Wes, Faith, Darla, Dru, The Master, Anne, Willow and Harmony. POSSIBLY The First Evil, Andrew.

    Missing scenes;

    According to the commentary this show was very long so plenty of scenes to be restored on a DVD extra

    Questions and observations;

    For my money the astronauts win, they've everything the cavemen have plus science and technology. Lots of Aliens imagery, Fred with a flamethrower, the critters at the beginning, even the 'cow-pat' emblem on the sarcophagus looks a bit like a facehugger curled up. Lovely Wes and Gunn moment over Fred, Gunn almost has you going for a bit. Knox is also very believable. Is Fred mesmerised by the sarcophagus crystal as Buffy was in Helpless? Spike and Angel have never flown in a plane before and seem nervous about it. Their bonding on the plane is lovely. They speak of returning to the UK as the mother country, obviously a long time since they've been home. Spike didn't like Les Mis, neither did I, rather see Wicked again. Like Dianne Warren though and I think secretly Gunn does too.

    Marks out of 10; 8/10 good ep but hard to watch

  • B-O-R-I-N-G

    Ok, now I really hate this season 5. It's absolutely boring… Boring as hell :/ I know that this episode is supposed to be one of the best episodes in the show, because Fred dies in it. But seriously, could they come up with something worse? There was noting different, nothing amazing, nothing special. The whole episode looked like all of those episodes when they're saving someone the entire time and in the end he/she is okay and healthy again. The only difference here is that Fried really died. But that doesn't make the entire episode less-boring, does it? I still have 7 more episodes to see, but I hate this season. The show went down the hill since the season five premiere. I used to love Angel, for me it was the second best show ever, but now it's just boring :/moreless
  • Heart-breaking, powerful, unforgettable.


    Heart-breaking, powerful, unforgettable. These are words often used by ad agencies to describe a series, an episode, or a movie. Seldom do these words accurately describe any work of fiction. Yet, here it is. Much of the Angel series was 'okay', but the entire series was worth watching for the handful of nearly perfect episodes scattered throughout the series, most of the best occurring during Season 5.

  • Agonising to watch.

    A Hole In The World is an absolutely outstanding episode and is in my Top 5 episodes of Angel. It is agony to watch and no matter how many times I watch it, I still finish emotionally numb. Fred's death is extremely hard to watch. Unlike Cordelia's who's death was virtually painless and Doyle's who's was over in seconds, Fred had to spend her last day in agony, before she died in the arms of her lover. It was just so powerful and moving and unlike Cordy's death which felt right, Fred's didn't. It felt random and had bad timing but that's why it's so good- there was no build up so it was just a complete shock at the end. The episode starts off like it would with any other damsel in distress but after 20 minutes it gets so hard to watch Fred screaming in pain, delirious with agony and then finally dying asking "Why can't I stay?" That line is brutal, like a knife going through you. Fred has come so far throughout the series; from crazy to geek to strong, brave woman. I loved seeing her character progress and her death is so hard hitting. However, her death was necessary. Save for "You're Welcome" and "Smile Time", the season has been getting increasingly stale and uninteresting. Fred's death saved the season. It gave us this masterpiece and then opened up more storylines with Illyria. While I love Fred, I'm partly glad she died, as the season needed more of a direction to go in. I liked the Deeper Well scenes as well, though not nearly as much as the Fred scenes. They were interesting but a bit useless. Drogyn is a bit annoying too. I loved the visual of it though and Spike saying that it is a hole in the world. It's a good expression.

    Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof were Emmy award deserving here, especially Amy. They were simply outstanding and blew me away. Amy Acker cannot do anything wrong; from crazy texan to cold villain, she does it all magnificently. She was positively amazing as dying Fred and made you see and feel the pain, the madness and the sadness of Fred here and really brought the episode to life. I was really impressed by her here. Alexis Denisof was nearly as excellent in his portrayal of Wesley watching the love of his life die in his arms. When Fred died, a part of Wesley did too and it shows.

    The end was awesome- Fred's eyes turning icy blue and Illyria then standing up. Whoever designed Illyria was amazing- she looks every inch the demon king. Her blue hair to her iced lips- everything works. And her eyes are amazing- that blue is just... wow.

    A Hole In The World is as close to perfect Angel gets. It's an episode you will never forget and very hard to watch. It's one of the best hours of TV ever and should not be missed.moreless
  • A Hole in the World

    A Hole in the World was a perfect episode of Angel because it had a lot of minor sub stories come together to form a new plot twist. I really enjoyed watching this episode which was full of drama, intrigue, mystery, action, humor, and new interesting characters. There is also a lot of character development in this episode. I thought Angel and Spike working together again was cool, and I enjoyed learning what they found out. I also thought Wesley shooting the guy not on Ms. Burkle's case was a tribute to the old school style of Wolfram and Hart. I thought the ending was surprising and interesting though it makes me sad at the same time!!!!!!!moreless
Alec Newman

Alec Newman


Guest Star

Jeremy Glazer

Jeremy Glazer


Guest Star

John Duff

John Duff

Delivery Man

Guest Star

Jonathan M. Woodward

Jonathan M. Woodward


Recurring Role

Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • The scene near the beginning of this episode where Gunn messes with Wesley's head about Fred was originally much longer and included Lorne. It was cut because Lorne's appearance didn't progress the plot, however some scenes where Lorne was present still were included in the episode. A couple of times Gunn seems to look at someone off camera (Lorne), and then at Wesley.

    • The lines Eve sings, "Pretty as a picture /She is like a golden ring" are from the song "LA Song" written by David Greenwalt. Lindsey sang the song in the episode "Dead End" (2x18) as well.

    • Gunn says Lindsey was hiding under the name of "Doyle," but when he shows Wesley the lease, it clearly has typed "Lindsey McDonald" for the name.

    • When at her parents' house, Fred says she is entering the graduate physics program at UCLA. But in "Supersymmetry" (4x05), Fred tells Gunn and Angel that she was a history student until she took Professor Seidel's physics class, and was hooked.

  • QUOTES (24)

    • Fred: Handsome man saves me.
      Angel: That's how it works.

    • Fred: My boys. I walk with heroes. Think about that.
      Wesley: (crying, trying to hold himself together) You are one.
      Fred: Superhero. And this is my power: to not let them take me. Not me.

    • Wesley: Fred, you can't be doing this.
      Fred: Please, Wesley, I am exactly the person to be doing this. Something could've been missed.
      Wesley: Whatever it is that's happening, we will stop it, I swear to you.
      Fred: I have to work.
      Wesley: You have to lie down.
      Fred: I am not... I am not the damsel in distress. I am not some case. I have to work this. I lived in a cave for 5 years in a world where they killed my kind like cattle. I am not going to be cut down by some monster flu. I am better than that! (softly) But I wonder... how very scared I am. (looks away)
      Wesley: I swear on my life, we will stop this, but you must be back in bed. That's where I need you to fight.
      Fred: Like I'm 6 years old? (Fred collapses, but Wes is there to catch her) This is a house of death.

    • Fred: It's my boys. I haven't had this many big, strapping men at my bedside since that night with the varsity lacrosse team. (no one reacts, Fred laughs) That was a joke.

    • Lorne: Here's the thing, Eve: You're going to sing for me, and I'm going to read you right now. And here's one more thing: Winifred Burkle once told me after a sinful amount of Chinese food, and in lieu of absolutely nothing, "I think a lot of people would choose to be green. Your shade, if they had the choice." If I hear one note —- one quarter-note —- that tells me you had any involvement, these two won't even have time to kill you.
      Oh and anything by Diane Warren will also result in your death... Well, except "Rhythm of the Night".

    • Spike: That's madness.
      Drogyn: This is a place of madness.

    • Employee: These guys are really important, I just need, I mean, the whole company can't be working Miss Burkle's case.
      Wesley: Of course. (shoots him in the knee)
      Employee: Ahh! Aah-huh! Uhh!
      Wesley: Jennifer, please send anyone else who isn't working Miss Burkle's case to me.

    • Spike: This goes all the way through to the other side. So I figure there's a bloke somewhere around...New Zealand standing on a bridge like this one looking back down at us. All the way down. There's a hole in the world. Feels like we ought to have known.

    • 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: I need you to talk to my parents. They have to know I wasn't scared. That it was quick, that I wasn't scared. Oh God!
      Wesley: I need you 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?

    • Spike: If cavemen and astronauts got in a fight, who would win?
      Wesley: Oh... you've been arguing for 40 minutes about this? (sigh) Do the astronauts have weapons?
      Angel and Spike: No.

    • Fred: That doesn't make any sense! The cavemen have fire. They created it. The astronauts should have weapons!

    • Spike: Do you ever have any fun?
      (armored men rush out at them)
      Angel: I'm about to.
      Spike: And they even brought us weapons. Strategy?
      Angel: Just hold my hand.
      (Spike gives Angel a look, but grabs his hand)
      Spike: (Spike smiles) St. Petersburg.
      Angel: Thought you'd forgotten.

    • Angel: To hell with the world.

    • Angel: Guys...
      Wesley: You don't have to say it.
      Angel: I'll say it anyway. Winifred Burkle. Go.

    • Drogyn: Your friend talks a lot.
      Angel: So much that he's right sometimes.

    • Wesley: Time is not on our side.
      Spike: Nobody is on our side.

    • Lorne: (to Eve) If I was about to face your future, I'd make like Carmen Miranda and die!

    • Gunn: Fred and I are getting back together. (Wes gasps) She was so keyed up from last night's fight, she asked me over. We ended up talking for hours like old times, then, all of a sudd— I can't even keep this up 'cause your face is gonna make me weep. Wes, I am so messin' with you!

    • Angel: Seriously, he doesn't like questions.
      Spike: Why the bloody hell not?
      Angel: He can't lie.

    • Angel: You and me. This isn't working out.
      Spike: Are you saying we should start annoying other people?

    • Spike: When is a door not a door? When it's not sodding well there.

    • Angel: You just like stabbing me.
      Spike: I'm shocked, shocked that you'd say that! I much prefer hitting you with blunt instruments.

    • Gunn: (singing) Three little maids, who all unwary come from a ladies' seminary, freed from it's genius tutelary, three little maids from school, three little maids... (sees Wesley, begins rapping) And you don't stop, with all the ladies and the gangsta butt...oh... (gives up) What's up?

    • Spike: Yeah, it's been freed. Why do you think we're here? (Spike becomes tired of Drogyn's games) And what's your favorite color? What's your favorite song? Who's the goalkeeper for Manchester United and how many fingers am I holding up? You wanna kill me? Try. I don't have time for your quirks.

  • NOTES (8)

    • Before Fred's death, Wesley reads to her a passage from "The Little Princess." According to Joss Whedon's DVD commentary, he chose this passage because "The Little Princess" is his all-time favorite book.

    • Joss Whedon borrowed the term "Deeper Well" from a spiritual song featured on Emmylou Harris' album Wrecking Ball.

    • An earlier idea was to have Angel and Spike go to England and see Giles for answers. The limited budget prevented Joss from flying Tony Head in from England.

    • Amy Acker discovered that Fred was going to die and become Illyria when Joss told her about this episode during Alexis & Alyson Hannigan's wedding in October.

    • On the UK VHS boxset this episode is incorrectly titled as "A Whole In The World".

    • The Deeper Well where all the Old Ones are buried is located in the Cotswolds, the same location where the annual Watcher's retreat is held [as mentioned in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, "Faith, Hope and Trick" (3x03)].

    • There were two different plans spoken of by the writers for how to handle the Fred/Illyria situation in Season 6, which were:
      1.Willow would visit the show and separate Illyria and Fred.
      2.Illyria would become more like Fred.

    • This marks the second time in the "Buffyverse" that Spike has referred to Manchester United, an English football (soccer) team for which David Beckham played. He mentioned it last in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Becoming Part 2" (2x22), where he listed it as one of the reasons why he didn't want the world destroyed.

  • ALLUSIONS (10)

    • Wesley: She was such a little girl that one did not expect to see such a look on her small face. It would have been an old look for a child of twelve, and Sara Crewe was only seven.
      The story Wesley is reading to Fred is called A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It's the story of a girl whose life suddenly changed, like a rug pulled out from under her. She makes the best of it, however, and eventually lives happily ever after.

    • Gunn: got me all up in this Walt Disney mojo...
      Gunn makes reference to a popular myth that Walt Disney had himself cryogenically frozen upon his death.

    • Angel: I've never seen Les Mis.
      Angel is referring to Les Misérables, a musical based on the novel by the same name. Set in France during the early 1800s.

    • Lorne: I'm Jake LaMotta over here.
      Jake LaMotta nicknamed The Bronx Bull, "The Raging Bull", is a former boxer who was world middleweight champion and whose life was as controversial outside the ring as it was inside it.

    • Spike: Roving agent sort of a 007 without the poncy tux.
      James Bond aka 007 is a secret agent created by Ian Fleming, and later turned into movies. He is almost always depicted in a tuxedo.

    • Lorne: Get a balcony you two, eh?
      A reference to the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, and the notoriously romantic balcony scene.

    • Gunn: It's on every Blackberry in the building. No secrets in the House of Pain.
      Gunn alludes to The Island of Dr. Moreau, a novel by H.G. Wells. In the book the protaganist, Edward Prendick, first believes that Dr. Moreau is turning men into animals, but later learns that the House of Pain is the laboratory where the Doctor tries to turn beasts into men using torturous, inhumane methods.

    • Gunn: Three little maids who, all unwary...
      Gunn is caught singing the "Three Little Maids" song from W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's operetta The Mikado.

    • Character name: Illyria
      "Illyria" was the name of an ancient country located in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. The country rose to power in the 4th century BC before being seized by Rome in the 2nd century BC. The Illyrians are likely ancestors of Albanians.
      This country is the setting of the Shakespeare play Twelfth Night, which (according to the DVD commentary) is where Joss Whedon got the name.

    • Spike: Or it could be the door to Christmasland.
      When Angel and Spike look for the Deeper Well in England, Angel deduces that a big tree in the woods is the way down. Spike's response to that is in reference to Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas movie, wherein Jack Skellington travels to Christmasland via a door in a tree.