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"Shiny Happy People" is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of Angel and the eighty-fourth episode in the series. Written by Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft and directed by Marita Grabiak, it was originally broadcast on April 9, 2003, on The WB network.

Synopsis[]

The Woman A.K.A. Jasmine, who was born to Cordelia, has the amazing ability to turn everyone she meets, including Angel and the gang, into loyal disciples dedicated to carrying out her every command. Only Fred is able to see that Jasmine's radiant beauty hides a sinister and powerful secret the others refuse to believe.[1]

Summary[]

Angel knees at the feet of the woman Cordelia gave birth to. After covering herself with a blanket, she praises her surroundings and thanks an unconscious Cordelia for giving her life. Angel offers the woman his sword to punish him for his earlier intentions of killing her.

At the Hyperion Hotel, Fred cleans up around the office while she rants to Lorne about what happened with Cordelia and whether Angel really killed her. Connor returns, and Fred pulls a knife on him, but his strange, peaceful behavior confuses her. Angel has returned as well with a no-longer pregnant Cordelia, and he's as oddly content as Connor.

Wesley and Gunn come upstairs from the basement, where they were dismembering Skip. They all marvel over Cordelia's return and the strange behavior of Angel and Connor. Angel and Connor boast about the woman, whom they don't want to kill but rather worship. Wesley tries to convince Angel that he's under a magical influence and that the creature is evil. However, when the woman arrives and offers to help the gang, they all fall to their knees in awe.

The gang gathers in Cordelia's room, where she is asleep in her bed. Gunn and Fred light candles, and the group sits around the woman as she begins to tell her origins. The woman explains she was one of the Powers That Be and became a watcher as humans developed; eventually, she could not stand to observe the suffering and planned a return to Earth. She explains that several miracles were necessary to bring her into the world — one example was Angel doing the Trials to win Darla's life, which earned him Connor's life instead. After Connor was born, Cordelia ascended to a higher plane. After all this, the woman had the vessels necessary to bring her into the world. Angel asks if Cordelia will ever wake up, and the woman says she thinks she might if they take hold of the world, strip away the thorns, and win the battle. She then tells the group that they have all been drowning in the war against evil, but she will help them destroy the demons and forces of hate all over the city.

A group of vampires play in a bowling alley with a human head until one of them complains of boredom. Another vampire tells him that something big is coming and he should be patient, when suddenly the Angel Investigations team appears and starts attacking them. As the woman and Fred sit and watch the battle, she asks Fred to give her a name. Suddenly, a vampire scratches the woman with its claws. Angel chases the vampire outside and stakes it in front of a crowd of people. The woman comes outside, her arm bleeding from the injury, and the crowd falls to their knees. She preaches to them about her power and how wonderful the world will be now that she's there. A man in the crowd grabs a knife and charges at the "monster," but Angel vamps out and thwarts the attack, punching the man repeatedly. The woman stops Angel and brushes her hand across the man's face. She asks Wesley to call for an ambulance and continues to preach to the crowd about good things, while the beaten man wonders why the others can't see what he does.

At the hotel, the gang brainstorms names for the woman. Fred feels guilty about letting the woman get hurt and muses about how she can clean the shirt for her. As Fred rushes off to continue scrubbing the shirt, the woman observes the love Wesley and Gunn both have for Fred. Connor apologizes for allowing the woman to be hurt, but she shows him the wound has almost healed completely. He questions why the man tried to hurt her, but she can't explain why. The woman goes outside and finds Angel sitting in the courtyard, and she admires the smell of the jasmine in the garden. Angel feels terrible about failing her once again and worries that he will lose his soul because her presence brings him happiness. The woman tells Angel that evil will be banished by the deeds they'll do — even the evil inside of him. She appoints him as her general and says she has faith in him and the others.

Fred frantically scrubs at the shirt while the others set out on a mission to destroy demons guided by the all-powerful woman. The next day, Fred returns to the lobby and announces that she had to buy a new shirt. She then breaks down into tears because she can't stand not being around the woman.

Upstairs, Lorne shows the woman her new, lavishly decorated room, which she adores. After Lorne leaves, she senses Connor walking in the hallway outside and invites him in to talk. She explains why he's special, why he deserves happiness, and why he was chosen to be her father. Fred comes into the room to give the woman the new shirt, but instead of the woman's normal beauty, Fred sees a decaying head covered in maggots. Fred panics, and the others rush in to investigate the commotion, but she quickly excuses herself.

Fred goes to Cordelia, who is still unconscious, and talks about the seriousness of their situation. Angel catches Fred and gushes to her about how great the new woman is. Fred mentions how strange it is that everyone is enamored and following her blindly, but Angel's faith is unwavering.

Fred goes to the hospital to visit the man from the crowd who attempted to attack the woman. Fred learns his name is John Stoler, and he has been sent to the psychiatric ward. She sneaks into his room and finds him strapped to a bed. Fred questions him about what he saw, and she admits that she also witnessed the horrible vision. When he turns to face her, the side of his face Jasmine touched earlier has become grotesquely disfigured. He tells Fred that both of them have been called to stop the woman and her evil. Fred insists that people like her don't "get called" and nervously excuses herself from the room.

Fred returns to the hotel to find it full of people who followed the woman back to the hotel after she went on a walk. Fred talks covertly to Wesley about her visit to the hospital and what she learned. Wesley says he believes her, and Fred watches him go over and whisper to Gunn and then the woman. The news spreads among the gang, and Fred panics, heading for the weapons cabinet. She grabs a crossbow and shoots a bolt at the woman atop of the stairs. Angel jumps in front of the woman, taking the bolt in the shoulder, and falls to the floor below. Lorne runs toward Fred to confront her, but she pulls a knife to his throat, keeping the others at bay. The woman tells Fred that her love will always follow her, no matter where she goes. Fred pushes Lorne into the others and runs out the front door.

Fred drives Wesley's car down a darkened street. When the sun comes up, she pulls over to the side of the road and starts to cry.

After the guests have left the hotel, Angel brings the woman a bouquet of jasmine flowers. The team begins to discuss the fact that Fred is now evil. The woman tries to motivate them and keep the mood positive, but she admits Fred is a danger to their purpose. Angel suggests they kill Fred, and the others agree. However, the woman insists that they wait and try to help her first.

Fred has breakfast at a diner and watches the morning news. The program has a special guest: the woman, who has taken the name Jasmine. The other diners in the restaurant drop to their knees, gazing up at the television as Jasmine begins to tell her story. Fred stumbles out onto the street and walks away, alone.

Continuity[]

  • This episode makes a reference to the short amount of time during which season four takes place. Fred and Lorne mention that it's been a "busy month," implying that it has been a month since Lilah Morgan's death in "Calvary." The revelation in "Players," however, and the short time pacing within the episodes (at least until this one) suggest that Lorne is referring to the events of the entire season, at the very least since "Apocalypse, Nowish."
  • Jasmine says the miracle she needed to be born happened when Lorne sent Angel to the trials for Darla's life ("The Trial").
  • John and Fred are able to see Jasmine's monstrous nature after touching her blood, as it'll be explained in "The Magic Bullet."
  • The comparison between jasmine flowers and vampires had been made before, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's "I Only Have Eyes for You" by Angel and in Angel's "The Trial" by Darla.

Appearances[]

Individuals[]

Organizations and titles[]

Species[]

Events[]

Locations[]

Objects[]

Death count[]

  • Bowling club's staff and players, killed by vampires (only mentioned).
  • Three vampires, staked by Angel.
  • A vampire, staked by Wesley.
  • A vampire, beheaded by Gunn.
  • A demon, killed by Angel.
  • A demon, killed by Wesley.
  • A vampire, staked by Connor.

Behind the scenes[]

Production[]

  • The title of this episode may refer to the R.E.M. song "Shiny Happy People," which lyrics are a satirical translation of Chinese propaganda. Governments use propaganda to control their citizens like Jasmine is using her magic and false message of love to control the masses.
  • Gunn's suggestion of Helen for the name of Jasmine may be a nod to one of Gina Torres' previous starring role as Helen "Hel" Carter in the series Cleopatra 2525.

Broadcast[]

  • "Shiny Happy People" had an audience of 2.6 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]

  • In Lorne's conversation with Fred about whether Angel would kill Cordelia, he completes her sentence with "dismember mama," referencing the film I Remember Mama.
  • Lorne quotes the title of the 1969 song "Here Comes the Sun."
  • Fred considers using Clorox bleach to clean Jasmine's blood from her shirt.
  • Lorne compares Jasmine's experience walking outside with the 1964 film A Hard Day's Night, in which The Beatles are followed by a horde of fans.

Music[]

International titles[]

  • Czech: "Štěstí, kam se podíváš" (Happiness, Wherever You Look)
  • Finnish: "Onnenpäivät" (Lucky Days)
  • French: "Douce béatitude" (Sweet Bliss)
  • German: "Jasmine"
  • Hungarian: "Boldog emberek" (Happy People)
  • Italian: "Felici e contenti" (Happy and Contented)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Felicidade Pura" (Pure Happiness)
  • Russian: "Счастливые и радостные люди" (Happy and Joyful People)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "El nacimiento" (The Birth)
  • Spanish (Spain): "El nacimiento" (The Birth)
  • Turkish: "Parlak Mutlu İnsanlar" (Shiny Happy People)

Adaptations[]

Gallery[]

Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]

[]

References[]

  1. "angel: Shiny Happy People." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on March 17, 2004.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
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