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"Fredless" is the fifth episode of the third season of Angel and the forty-ninth episode in the series. Written by Mere Smith and directed by Marita Grabiak, it was originally broadcast on October 22, 2001, on The WB network.


Angel goes into full detective mode when Fred's parents unexpectedly arrive in Los Angeles to bring Fred home, but their appearance inexplicably sends her into a tailspin and on the run.[1]


Wesley, Cordelia, Fred, and Gunn joke around in the lobby, while Fred works on a contraption that nobody can figure out. While Angel is out meeting his resurrected ex-girlfriend, Wesley and Cordelia mockingly act out a humorous account of Buffy and Angel's relationship. When Angel enters the room, Cordelia tries to persuade him to discuss what happened at his visit with Buffy, but he declines. He decides to take Fred out for ice cream, the only member of the gang who is unconcerned about Buffy, while Cordelia complains that no one will ever know what happened.

Angel and Fred scour the sewers for a Durslar beast that attacked them while in Häagen-Dazs, despite them not being known for roaming above ground. Angel is certain he can kill the Durslar himself, and he sends Fred back to the hotel.

A middle-aged couple named Roger and Trish show up at the hotel looking for their daughter. The gang asks them questions about what supernatural force they believe took their daughter, but Roger and Trish explain they hired a private detective who traced her to the Hyperion Hotel; their missing daughter is Fred.

As the gang quickly try to cover their discussion of demonic activity as slang, Fred enters the hotel unnoticed, spots her parents, and rushes up to her room.

Fred's parents explain that they recently got a letter from their daughter telling them she was okay since she'd been missing for five years, but not to look for her. Gunn can't help but be impressed that the private detective traced them despite there being no return address on the envelope. The gang lies, claiming Fred was depressed, until Angel enters with the Durslar beast's head. He cheerfully tells them about the incredible fight he had, but the gang swiftly shuts him down and pretends Angel works in monster movies and the head is a prop.

They enter Fred's room and discover she is gone, but the ice cream wrapper on the floor indicates she was just there and fled. The gang doesn't trust her parents because Fred appears to be afraid of them and wonders why and if she would write such a letter. Worried about Fred, especially since she's never left the hotel alone, they decide to split up and search for her.

Fred visits Lorne at Caritas, which is still wrecked from the massacre that occurred a few weeks prior. He is still depressed over what happened and in no mood to entertain, lounging around in pajamas and a robe. Fred briefly sings to Lorne and asks him for money so she can leave Los Angeles. He tells her that he understands she's running from her own demons, warning her she may not have run far enough.

Angel searches for Fred in the sewers, and, unbeknownst to him, is being followed by a creature that looks like a giant insect with glowing blue eyes. The others search the Los Angeles Public Library, where Fred used to work. Trish tells them how she would pick Fred up from their community library back home after her rounds as a school bus driver. Roger demands to know what Fred is doing with them, since it seems strange a physicist would work for a detective agency. Cordy, Wes, and Gunn finally concluded Fred may have headed for Caritas. They call Angel, who is still being stalked by the creature, and tell him to meet them there.

When they arrive at Caritas, Lorne informs Gunn that he is not welcome because his former gang attack was partly his responsibility. When Gunn leaves to wait outside, Cordy claims Lorne works with Angel in monster movies, explaining his demonic appearance as makeup, but Lorne is not amused. Lorne denies knowing where Fred is, but Angel convinces him to help. Lorne reveals her location, but warns Angel that it's not going to be easy for Fred.

Meanwhile, Fred is at the bus station, talking to herself and trying to decide where to flee to, when her parents find her. Fred reveals she didn't want to see her parents and tell them where she had been for the previous five years because she didn't want to relive the experience. With her friends watching, Fred breaks down in tears and is comforted by her parents as she is forced to come to terms with the fact that the terrible things she went through in Pylea actually happened. They all embrace, and then a giant, bug-like demon descends on them and begins attacking. All attempts to fool the Burkles are abandoned, and everyone fights the creature. Fred is injured, but Trish drives a bus over the demon and kills it.

Back at the hotel, everyone tends to their wounds and talks about what happened. Roger and Trish take the knowledge of supernatural demons and monsters in stride, just happy to see their daughter. Fred proudly refers to Angel as a champion, Wesley as the brains, Gunn as the muscle, and Cordy as the heart of the team. However, she stutters when she tries to describe her purpose in the group and where she fits in. Fred decides to return home with her parents, where it is quiet, safe, and free of demons. Roger and Trish are happy to have their daughter return home with them, while the rest of the gang respect her decision. Angel later talks with Fred in her room, as she admits that she built herself another cave when Angel left upon learning of Buffy's death.

Fred says her farewells to the gang and leaves with her parents. As they head to the airport, Fred suddenly notices the demon's blood on her shirt crystalized, and she asks to head back. Meanwhile, Angel and the others talk about how much they'll miss having Fred and her parents around. Another bug demon bursts through the hotel doors, accompanied by a swarm of numerous demons outside. As they begin to attack, Fred walks in and sets off her contraption: a hands-free device that flings an axe across the room. The axe bisects the severed Durslar head, releasing a hoard of bugs.

Seeing this, the demon leaves, the bugs from the head trailing behind it. Fred explains the demon laid its eggs in the Durslar's head, which is why it ventured above ground and attacked Angel. The remainder of the hive arrived to retrieve the offspring from the head when the demon parent attacked them at the bus terminal and was killed. The group commends Fred on her excellent deductive reasoning, making her realize she does have a place with Angel Investigations after all. She decides to stay, and her parents accept her decision.

Later, the gang and Fred's parents paint over Fred's wall scribbling. Angel and Fred's dad bond over the knowledge that Spiro Agnew was a demon, and Wes and Gunn argue over the correct way to paint. Fred finds a drawing of her and Angel on top of a horse, and she paints over it with a smile.


  • An off-screen meeting between Angel and Buffy takes place immediately before this episode, Angel having left to meet her at the end of the previous episode, "Carpe Noctem." Buffy's similarly vague commentaries about the encounter appear in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Life Serial."
  • The Scooby Gang will speculate Buffy and Angel's meeting in the dubious canon comic Reunion.
  • Fred muses to herself that she could go to Las Vegas and make a fortune counting cards at blackjack. She will later do just that in "The House Always Wins."
  • Roger and Trish Burkle would return to Los Angeles only in "The Girl in Question."
  • This episode introduces Fred's knack for building contraptions, which will appear again in the episode "Billy."



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • A Durslar beast, beheaded by Angel.
  • One bug demon, squashed by Trish Burkle with a bus.

Behind the scenes[]


  • The set used for the bus station lobby is also used in the episodes "Five by Five" and "Shells."


  • "Fredless" had an audience of 3.0 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]

  • Angel compares Durslar beasts with the writer William Faulkner and alludes to the title of his 1929 novel The Sound and the Fury.
  • Angel takes Fred to the ice cream store Häagen-Dazs.
  • Fred sings the nursery rhyme "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" to Lorne.
  • Fred interrupts Lorne watching the reality court show Judge Judy.
  • Lorne compares watching the film The Godfather Part III with massacres, explaining that "once is enough."
  • Trish talks about Roger's love of Alien movies, saying he loves them all "except that last one they made. I think he dozed off." The movie she is referring to is Alien Resurrection, the screenplay of which was written by Joss Whedon.
  • Fred describes the behavior of the bug demons laying eggs in the Durslar beast's head as following the evolutionary Darwinism theory.
  • Angel and Roger talk about the politician Spiro Agnew being a demon.
  • Angel and Roger talk about the 1963 golf tournament Bob Hope Desert Classic, in which Jack Nicklaus won against Gary Player.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Bez Fred" (Without Fred)
  • Finnish: "Fredin ratkaisu" (Fred's Solution)
  • French: "Les démons du passé" (Demons of the Past)
  • German: "Fre(u)dlos" (Joyless/Fredless)
  • Hungarian: "Fred nélkül" (Without Fred)
  • Italian: "Senza Fred" (Without Fred)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Procurando Fred" (Searching for Fred)
  • Russian: "Без Фрэд" (Without Fred)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Sin Fred" (Without Fred)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Sin Fred" (Without Fred)
  • Turkish: "Fredsizlik" (Fredless)



  1. "angel: Fredless." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on November 26, 2003.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Third Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.