Angel/I Fall to Pieces

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I Fall to Pieces
I Fall to Pieces
Season 1, Episode 4
Airdate October 26, 1999
Production Number 1ADH04
Teleplay by David Greenwalt
Story by Joss Whedon &
David Greenwalt
Directed by Vern Gillum
← 1x03
In the Dark
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Rm w/a Vu
AngelSeason One

I Fall to Pieces is the fourth episode of the first season of Angel. Doyle's visions point Angel towards a woman being stalked by a doctor who can detach his own body parts.

Starring: David Boreanaz (Angel), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), Glenn Quinn (Allen Francis Doyle)

Guest Starring: Elisabeth Rohm (Kate Lockley), Tushka Bergen (Melissa Burns), Andy Umberger (Doctor Ronald Meltzer), Carlos Carrasco (Doctor Vinpur Narpudan)

Co-Starring: Brent Sexton (Beat Cop), Garikayi Mutambirwa (Intern), Kent Davis (John), Jan Bartlett (Penny), Patricia Gillum (Woman Patient), Christopher Hart (Hand Performance By)


Plot Summary

A woman comes to Angel seeking help when an eye surgeon, who she went on a date with out of gratitude after he saved her sight, starts stalking her. He has developed the supernatural power to psychically separate pieces of his body and control them remotely. Angel helps the woman track down her stalker and defends her from his many attacks, which include strangling a policeman to death with his disembodied arms. In the end Angel defeats the evil Doctor and locks his many body pieces in different steel boxes and buries them so he cannot reform himself.


Monster of the Week

  • Dr. Meltzer: Although he isn't a demon or a monster, Dr. Meltzer is a surgeon whose techniques are radical and far outside medical ethics like reattaching eyes and performing dangerous surgery. Using certain mental techniques, Meltzer can detach body parts and control them using only his mind. However, if his body parts remain detached for too long, they begin to deteriorate.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Cop Dr. Meltzer Strangled Melissa's Bedroom
2 Dr. Meltzer Angel Divided and Boxed Up Angel Investigations

Arc Advancement


  • Wolfram & Hart: The supernatural lawfirm pops up again, this time as the legal representation for Dr. Meltzer.
  • Angel Investigations: The agency gets their first legitimate check, or at least their first check on screen.


  • Angel: Although evil, Dr. Meltzer is still a human being. When Angel murdered him, it set the standard of an unclear moral line that is much more ambiguous than the line between good and evil in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


  • 1x02 - Lonely Hearts: The demon which Cordelia refers to was the subject of the second episode of the series. A burrower demon was attacking singles at a club.
Cordelia: Which last time led to a sex-changing-body-switching-tear-your-innards-out-demon, right.


The Show

  • Ratings: During its original airing, this episode scored a 4.9/7 in Nielsen ratings. It was ranked 3rd out of all 15 WB shows.
  • Guest star Andy Umberger also had a recurring role as the demon D'Hoffryn on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He also is part of the Joss Whedon hat-trick, having also guest starred on Firefly.

Behind the Scenes

  • Script Transition: Originally, this was meant to be a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, but it was moved when the producers figured that it better fit Angel's style than Buffy's.

Allusions and References

  • Johnnie Cochran: Johnnie Cochran is a high profile lawyer who once notably defended O.J. Simpson in his murder trial. Cochran was well known for being theatrical and over-the-top, qualities which were notably parodied in a South Park episode called "Chef Aid".
Kate: Wolfram & Hart. They're the law firm that Johnnie Cochran is too ethical to join.
  • O.J. Simpson: Cordelia refers to O.J. Simpson, a former football player and one-time murder suspect. In 1994, Simpson was tried in criminal court for the alleged murder of his ex-wife and her friend.
Cordelia: What is it about Melissa that got him to go all O.J. on her?
  • People: Doyle is quoting a line from the song "People" from the 1968 musical, Funny Girl. The movie starred Barbara Streisand as a semi-biographical take on Fannie Brice.
Doyle: Well, people need people. And people who need people are the luckiest...
  • Harry Houdini: Houdini was a magician and escape artist during the early 1900s. Houdini performed his escapes on the vaudeville circuit, often entertaining audiences by escaping from elaborate handcuff traps and straitjackets.
Kate: How could he do it? I mean, she's got bars on her windows. The security cameras in the hallway show our officers going in and nobody suspicious all day. I mean, who is this guy, Houdini?
  • Tangled Web: Meltzer quotes a line from Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field by Sir Walter Scott. The full line is "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
Meltzer: I mean your name is not really Jensen. You don't have a wife. What a tangled web, eh?

Memorable Moments


  • Cordelia: I know Angel's been working day and night to help people fight their personal demons, but I need a raise.
Doyle: A raise? You've been working for him for what, twenty minutes?
Cordelia: A month. And I have needs.
Doyle: Needs.
Cordelia: A person needs certain... designer... things.
  • Doyle: But you are right, and I do agree. Angel needs to start charging. He just hates bringing up the finances with the clients. He likes playing the hero. Walking off into the dark, his long coat flowing behind him in that mysterious and attractive way.
Cordelia: Is this a private moment? 'Cause I could leave you alone.
  • Angel: I'm in Private Security.
Melissa Burns: Excuse me?
Angel: It's - It's what I do. It's my job.
Melissa Burns: And you walk around in underground garages telling people this because...?
  • Angel: Am I intimidating? I mean, do I put people off?
Cordelia: Well, as vampires go, you're pretty cuddly. Maybe you might want to think about mixing up the black-on-black look.
  • Cordelia: (to Doyle) You're a lot smarter than you look. Of course, you look like a retard.
  • Melissa: I guess Angel has handled a lot of cases like this.
Doyle: Dozens. Hundreds. Dozens of hundreds.
Melissa: It happens that often?
Doyle: Well, exactly like yours? Not quite so many. But protecting young women such as yourself? Oh, yeah, there's been, uh, four. And three of them are very much alive.
  • Kate: Wolfram & Hart. You know the name?
Angel: I've heard it.
Kate: Yeah. They're the law firm that Johnnie Cochran is too ethical to join.
  • Cordelia: What is stalking nowadays, like, the third most popular sport among men?
Angel: Fourth, after luge.
  • Cordelia: I don’t get it. This guy has a lot to lose. What is it about Melissa that's got him going all O.J. here?
Angel: Nothing. It’s not about Melissa. It’s about rage. This guy's too messed up to deal with a real woman and he can’t stand that. So he creates a fantasy about a girl he barely knows. But eventually even she fails him. And he has to hurt her, because when he looks at her all he sees is how useless he is, how damaged--
Cordelia: (interrupting) Uh! What a fun date you must have been in back in your bad, vamp days. On the other hand, it should give you some insight into the jerks of the world.
  • Doyle: They get any prints?
Angel: Yeah.
Doyle: Good. So we can put him behind bars... for about 90 seconds, until he skitters through 'em. Not a lot of things make me shudder, but this guy - crawling around under the covers. At least it was just his hands down there. I wish I hadn't even thought that.
  • Cordelia: What did you put in her tea?
Doyle: Enough whiskey to drop my Aunt Judy. That woman had some girth.
Cordelia: What's the point?
Doyle: Well, it tastes good, and it relaxes you.
Cordelia: No, I mean of ever going out with anyone.
Doyle: Well, people need people. And people who need people... are the luckiest p--
Cordelia: Either you like them, and they don't like you. Or you can't stand them, which just guarantees that they're going to hover around and never go away.
Doyle: I hate guys like that.
  • Cordelia: I mean, it is just so unfair! I mean, this poor girl, she hooks up with a doctor — that should be a good thing. You should be able to call home and say, "Mom, guess what? I met a doctor!" Not, "Guess what? I met a psycho and he's stalking me. Oh, by the way, his hands and feet come off and he's not even in the circus!"
  • Ronald: You disappoint me, Melissa.
Melissa: I know. I know. I didn't mean...
Ronald: No, no, no. no. Stop now. You're babbling.
Melissa: I think... I think you disappoint yourself. I think you gave up on being loved a long time ago and now you're just another creep who gets off on pain.
Ronald: Oh, don't try and use some childish --
Melissa: And you know I'd be crazy to want to touch you, to wake up next to... little pieces of whatever you are.
Ronald: Shut up.
Melissa: You turned yourself into a freak, Ronald. A vile, repulsive freak. And I am done being afraid of you. You can cut me and you can kill me, but it still won't change what you are. Angel was right. You're weak.
Ronald: I'm weak? Then how was it I killed him?
Angel: Inefficiently.
Ronald: You can't be alive. You're not human!
Melissa: You should talk.
  • Doyle: Let's march down to the bank right now and deposit this beauty.
Angel: You guys go on. I think I'll stay here and not burst into flames.
Doyle: Oh, right. You're pretty much the night deposit guy.
  • Cordelia: We need more of these.
Doyle: Well, we'll have more soon enough.
Cordelia: Well, we them now. Have a vision.
Doyle: I can't just perform on demand.
Cordelia: We need the clients. Have a vision.
Doyle: That money's corrupted you.
Cordelia: If I hit you in the head, would you have a vision?
Doyle: Get away from me. You're insane.
Cordelia: No, I'm not.