I Fall to Pieces
written by David Greenwalt
originally aired October 26, 1999


The episode opens with Cordeila sorting through various bills: water, power, and her "perennial favorite", the rent.  All these bills bring Doyle and Cordelia onto an important issue: money!  Angel hasn't been charging any of their clients and as a result, their "business" isn't doing too well financially (plus, Cordelia needs her designer outfits!):

Cordelia: A person needs certain...designer...things.
Doyle: Personally I don't think you need much in the way of clothes.  But you are right, and I do agree: Angel needs to start charging.
Gathering up the courage to suggest to Angel the need for charging their clients, Cordelia and Doyle get interrupted by one of Doyle's visions: one of Melissa Burns at Pardell Paper Products.

Next we see Melissa at work celebrating a co-worker's birthday.  Everything is going fine until she receives a big bunch of flowers.  They're from some man who we don't know, but she obviously is upset by them.  Melissa then goes to the bathroom to take some sort of medication, and when she leaves, Angel makes his first appearance.  His attempts to talk to her are awkward, as usual, and she gets scared off.  Maybe it's the completely black clothing, or the creep factor of some guy coming up to her and saying that he's in 'personal security', but she drives away (not before Angel slipped his business card to her!).  Why can't Angel ever seem to connect with people?

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.
Angel: Maybe you should talk to her - she'd feel safer.
Cordelia: When she hires us I'll get involved.
Meanwhile, Angel's stuck with his romanticized view of saving people, namely, not charging them!  But Doyle points out that it's better to charge people as they feel that they can repay their debt to ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS and "move on independently":
Cordelia: You're a lot smarter than you look!  'Course, you look like a retard.
So then we see Melissa trying to draw money from an ATM and we are introduced to Dr. Ronald Meltzer, aka psycho obsessive stalker.  He's changed her pin number and he's clearly obsessive (against Melissa's wishes) about their "relationship".  The weird thing is, he knows how many tranquilizers Melissa took in the bathroom at work.  We also learn that he is/was her doctor and that he's some sort of surgeon...hmmm...major tension between those two....

This little encounter with Dr. Meltzer pushes Melissa into calling ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS for help.

Cordelia: Angel Investigations, we help the hopeless.
Melissa soon explains that Dr. Meltzer is a neurosurgeon who operated on a nerve behind her eye, and that after their one date several months ago, he can't leave her alone.  She feels like he is watching her all the time, and she doesn't know how much more of it she can take.
Angel: Well we're going to help you.
Cordelia: Big time.  And for a reasonable fee!
Despite Angel's disapproving glare, Cordelia sticks with the money issue throughout the ep. (yay!) However, they can't figure out how Meltzer does it: astral projection?  some kind of ghost?
Cordelia: Maybe he has an accomplice.  Or he has a hidden camera.  Not everything has to be creepy and supernatural, you know.
Angel: Not everything but Doyle had a vision.
Cordelia: ...which last time lead to a sex-changing, body-switching, tear-out-your-innards demon, right.  I guess they don't call you for the everyday cases.
Next we see Melissa in her apartment, undressing, while in a completely different place Meltzer sits with his hands over his eyes.  How does he watch her, you ask?  Well we see that the eyeball floating in Melissa's room, watching her is probably a big part of that!

The next day, Angel turns to Kate for help, and Doyle watches out for Melissa at her office.  It turns out that Meltzer is represented by the lawfirm Wolfram & Hart (anyone remember Russell Winters and his lawyers?), and that basically the police don't have anything against him.  This leads to Angel breaking into Meltzer's office to investigate, and of course, he gets caught (don't worry, he tells Dr. Stalker that he must operate on his dying wife).  Meanwhile, Cordelia's talking to a female doctor for an "article" she's writing about Meltzer:

Female doctor: Another article about Meltzer.
Cordelia: Well, um, our readers at the, uh, the Journal of Diagnostic Orthoped...etcetera seemed endlessly fascinated by him.
She digs up a little dirt that Meltzer isn't the nicest guy and that his work is pretty...'out there'.  After a little investigating of his own, Angel pretty much figures out how Meltzer does what he does (something to do with "psychic surgeons").  That night, though, Meltzer's hands (detached) crawl into Melissa's bed while she's sleeping and eventually end up killing a police officer.  When Meltzer sees Angel comforting Melissa afterwards, he knows that Angel and all those around him needs to be stopped.

Cordelia and Doyle stay at home? headquarters? the office? (not too sure what to call it) to make sure Melissa's safe while Angel goes to see Meltzer with a nice box to capture flying body parts.  Angel hadn't anticipated Meltzer seeing through him, though, and Meltzer shoots him with some kind of super-tranquilizer thing that stops hearts from beating.  Question: How could this work?  I thought his heart didn't even beat in the first place...  Anyway, back at the base, Doyle and Cordelia wait, with Cordelia creeped out with relationships:

Cordelia: What's the point?
Doyle: Well it [whiskey] tastes good and relaxes you.
Cordelia: No, I mean of ever going out with anyone.
Doyle: Well, people need people.  [edging towards Cordelia] And people who need people are the luckiest...
Cordelia: [pushing Doyle back] Either you like them and they don't like you, or you can't stand them which just guarantees that they're going to huddle around and never go away.
Doyle: Uh, I hate guys like that.
Doyle starts to get a little duct-tape happy once they get nervous about Angel, but Meltzer still appears for a final showdown with flying body parts and everything.  Teeth fly out, ears fall off, and hands go a-stranglin'!  Just in time, though, Angel appears to save the day.

Later we see the gang at the office, talking about the case.  Angel buried Meltzer in several different boxes in newly-set concrete, so he shouldn't be a problem.  Then Melissa comes back, and actually pays them!  Looks like Doyle was right about people being able to feel like they're independent after paying Angel as Melissa happily leaves Angel Investigations hoping she'll never see them again.  Cordelia and Doyle go off to celebrate their first payday while Angel stays back (due to the pesky sunlight):

Doyle: Oh, right, you're pretty much the night-deposit guy.  Well, still, cause to celebrate.
Cordelia: You think everything is a cause to celebrate!  We need more of these.
Doyle: We'll have more soon enough.
Cordelia: Well we need them now - have a vision! .... If I hit you on the head, would you have a vision?
Most memorable line
You're a lot smarter than you look!  'Course, you look like a retard.
That's the Cordelia we know and love. :)

Most memorable scene

Probably has to be the scene where Cordelia asks what the point of relationships are as it seems to give the most insight into her character.  She sure has some good reasons to be jaded about relationships, but it leaves you wondering about whether she knows Doyle really likes her or not.  Did she say the "huddle around and never go away" remark to give Doyle a hint or is this just the tact-less Cordelia who was just saying what was on her mind?  It's hard to say, but it's interesting to see how Cordelia views relationships in her post-Buffy life.


Mesuvius: Well, I have to say that I thought this episode was fairly mediocre.  Don't get me wrong, it had its good moments (most of them for me included Cordelia, as usual!), but I never really felt into the plot.  The episode seemed a bit formulaic to me - with the same basic kind of plot set-up, all the characters in the same basic roles, and the guest characters fairly typical.  I didn't feel engaged in the show.  However, some good ground was covered in the growth of the show, such as addressing the important issue of money as well as other things.  I'd like to see some very different plots used so that the show can encompass a broader scope, and thankfully next week's episode, "Room With a View", looks as if it's going to do just that (as well as become a new favorite for Cordy fans!).

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