|Season 1, Episode 15|
|Air date||February 22, 2000|
|Written by||Tim Minear|
|Directed by||Bruce Seth Green|
"I've Got You Under My Skin"
|Alexis Denisof|| Wesley |
|J. Kenneth Campbell||Liam's father|
|Henri Lubatti|| Head vampire |
|Frank Potter||Uniformed Delivery|
|Eliza Szonert||Chamber Maid|
|Bob Fimiani||Grounds Keeper|
|Christina Hendricks||Bar Maid|
|John Maynarnd||Uniformed Worker|
|Glenda Morgan Brown||Angel's Mother|
|Mark Ginther||Head Demon Guy|
|John Patrick Clerkin||Black Robed Priest|
|Michael M. Vendrell||Suit #2|
"The Prodigal" is the fifteenth episode of the first season of Angel and the fifteenth episode overall. Written by Tim Minear and directed by Bruce Seth Green, it was originally broadcast on February 22, 2000 on the WB network.
In this episode, Detective Kate Lockley learns her father has been spending his retirement working as a middleman for a syndicate of demon drug-runners. In response to investigative pressure from Angel, the demon drug-lord orders Kate's father killed. Flashbacks show the human Angel struggling with his own father in 1753, incorporating scenes first shown in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Becoming, Part One", and showing how Angel killed his family after being turned into a vampire by Darla.
In a flashback to Galway, Ireland, 1753, Angel—at that point, still known as "Liam"—is fighting with his father. Enraged by his son's chronic fecklessness and current mocking demeanor, Liam's father slaps his son in the face, shouting that he'll always be a layabout and a scoundrel. In the present, Angel is fighting a demon that is dressed like a homeless person on the train tracks in a L.A. subway tunnel. As Detective Kate Lockley arrives on the scene, the demon clutches its chest, sinks to the ground and expires. Forced again to deal with L.A.'s dark side and Angel's place in it, Kate ironically wonders whether she should call the coroner or Hazardous Materials, while Angel tries to convince her not to report the supernatural aspects of this case. Later, as an officer interviews the Blue Circle courier who pulled the emergency cord after allegedly being attacked by "your average Joe-stink homeless guy," Angel's instincts are immediately aroused when he spots Kate's dad, retired police detective Trevor Lockley, take a package from the crime scene.
At Angel Investigations, Angel identifies the demon in one of Wesley's reference books as a Kwaini Demon, an inherently non-violent race. Angel visits Kate at the precinct, but as he explains that something must have set off the Kwaini demon in the subway, Kate interrupts, preferring that he say "evil thing" instead of "demon." He is unable to convince Kate that the demon she saw dead in the subway is not an evil evil thing. Kate is reluctant to admit that his news means that this case is not as routine as they initially believed. The AI team splits up to pursue their two leads. Angel follows the Blue Circle courier to an apartment building, where Trevor Lockley opens the door to the courier's knock and shoves a brown-wrapped package into the man's hands. Once the courier leaves, Angel confronts Trevor about the exchange, theorizing Trevor was returning the parcel he removed from the crime scene that morning. Intending to discover who Trevor is working for, Angel gives Kate's father a chance to come clean so they can take care of the problem without further police involvement. Taking umbrage at Angel's angry implication that he cares nothing for his daughter, Trevor tells Angel that he can't possibly interpret a father's actions, and slams the door in his face.
Trevor Lockley invites his daughter to lunch. He asks her questions about Angel. She tells him that Angel is a private investigator and a good one.
After locating the Kwaini's body in the subway tunnel, Wesley performs an autopsy which reveals the demon was on drugs, and attacked the train because someone on board had more of the drug. The drug not only made the normally peaceful Kwaini demon violent, but also enhanced its strength. Angel is concerned that the same drug might also enhance the strength of an already-powerful battle demon. Cordelia, who has been tailing the Blue Circle delivery driver, comes through the door. She has photographs that show the building from where the drug is coming, a business called Kel's Exotic Auto.
Trevor reports on Angel to the drug dealers. He does not know that Kel's Exotic Auto is in the drug business, believing he is helping them to transport auto parts that have been illegally imported into the United States so as to avoid import duties. He resents being asked to remove objects from a crime scene and to pump his daughter for information, which he had never agreed to do, and advises his employers to "dial back" for a while. After he's gone, the demonic head of the drug operation orders his lackeys to kill Angel and Trevor.
In Galway, Liam tearfully bids goodbye to his mother and younger sister,and exchanges more harsh words with his father. Making his way back to the pub, Liam spends the remainder of the day carousing wildly. An elegantly dressed Darla watches in fascination as a very drunk Liam brawls with beautiful abandon, besting several men in quick succession. That night, luring the vulnerable young man into a dark alley with promises of exotic experiences and places, Darla sires Liam, first biting him, then drawing her own blood for him to drink in turn. That night, Angelus rises from his grave and is greeted by Darla. She watches as he morphs and kills his first human, after which he visits Liam's home and kills his family.
Two men in suits visit Trevor Lockley to make sure he hasn't said anything to his daughter. Angel arrives to warm Trevor of the danger in which he's involved, as the men in suits reveal themselves as vampires. Angel is unable to persuade Trevor to invite him inside in time, and is forced to watch helplessly as one of the vampires kills the old man. As soon as Trevor is dead the barrier lifts and Angel leaps into a fight with the two vampires, staking one but Trevor's killer gets away as Kate arrives to find her father dead. Devastated, Kate orders Angel to leave. Angel returns to the office and heavily arms himself for battle, this mission having now become personal.
Kate finds the money her father had been paid and the details for Kel's Exotic Auto. She turns up at the demon drug lord's base and stakes the vampire who killed her father. Angel shows up and helps her fight and kill the remaining vampires and finally chops off the head of the demon. Kate walks away, saying that Angel doesn't know anything about being human.
Back in Angel's past, Darla finds that Angelus has killed all of Liam's family. Although Angelus believes he had the ultimate victory over his father, Darla disagrees; Angelus went straight for the kill and didn't make his father suffer or respect him, telling her new love that he still has a lot to learn. Kate visits her father's grave while Angel watches from the safety of the shadows.
- Liam standing in shadow, softly coaxing confident Anna closer, is eerily reminiscent of Angelus standing in shadow (in the middle of the Sunnydale High hallway) softly luring trusting Willow closer ("Innocence").
- Before Kate questions the delivery guy witness, Angel tells her "People have a way of seeing what they need to." This recalls Giles's response to Xander's shock, near the end of the season one Buffy episode "The Harvest", regarding the lack of public reaction after the previous night's showdown with the Master's minions at The Bronze. Giles tells the three friends "People have a tendency to rationalize what they can and forget what they can't."
- Darla's line to Angelus "What we once were informs all that we have become" stands in direct contrast to Buffy's insistence in "Doppelgangland" that "a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was". In the same episode, Angel almost corrects Buffy on this point, but decides better of it.
- Some of the 1753 scenes were originally from "Becoming, Part One".
- a Kwaini demon, killed by Angel
- Liam (Angel), sired by Darla in 1753 (flashback)
- unidentified grounds keeper, killed by Angelus in 1753 (flashback)
- Trevor Lockley, drained by a vampire
- Three vampires, dusted by Angel
- Liam's family (sister, mother and father), killed by Angelus in 1753 (flashback)
- Two vampires, dusted by Kate Lockley
- Dealer Head demon, killed by Angel
- 2 Demons
- 6 Humans (5 in flashback)
- 5 Vampires
- Los Angeles, CA
- Galway, Ireland (only in flashbacks)
Behind the Scenes
- This is the first appearance of Darla (Julie Benz) on Angel. Darla will become a key figure in the series, beginning with "To Shanshu in L.A.".
Pop Culture References
- West Hollywood: Kate's father tries to guess what's "wrong" with the "tall, good looking" guy she brought to the retirement party, alluding to the city's homosexual population.
- J. Kenneth Campbell, who plays Liam's father, famously appeared in 80s horror film Waxwork as the Marquis De Sade. His look in the film is highly reminiscent of Angelus and the final scenes depict a battle against numerous released classic horror monsters resembling scenes in both the Buffy episode "Primeval" and Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods. 
- German: Vaterliebe (Paternal Love)
- French: 1753
- Robert J. Kral ft. Elin Carlson - "The Birth of Angelus"
- Christophe Beck and Robert J. Kral - original score
Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors
- The cemetery groundskeeper who is Angel's first kill as a vampire recites the Lord's Prayer improperly, omitting the phrase "on Earth as it is in Heaven."
- It is implied in this episode that Cordelia had her 19th birthday two weeks earlier This would be later slightly contradicted in "Birthday", which sets her birthday at about the second week of January.
- Wesley states that he has performed a "vivisection" on the kwaini. Vivisections are performed on living subjects. As the demon was deceased, the procedure was a dissection or an autopsy.
- When Angelus rises from the grave, his breath (and Darla's) is clearly visible. Since vampires have no body heat, they are always at air temperature. Furthermore, vampires do not need breath to live. (Producer Tim Minear explains it was cold while they filmed this scene, shot on location at Hollywood Forever Cemetery behind Paramount Pictures, and there wasn't a large enough budget to digitally remove the actors' breath.)
- In the scene between Kate and Angel in her office, talking about "evil evil things" the tip of a boom mike can be seen.
- In the scene where Kate is crying over Trevor's dead body, his eyes blink.
- Liam's funeral is interesting because of the eulogy given by the priest, who presumably speaks for much longer, but whom we hear saying only a few phrases, such as, "Taken too soon from the bosom of his family, a man of just 20 years and 6, Liam was well-loved by everyone he met. Receive this your humble servant. We pray that you may take his eternal soul into your care, Father." Liam was turned into vampire Angel in 1753. Not long before that, funeral orations were philosophical and theological in nature (often given in Latin for Catholics, in places where the sound of Latin was familiar to commoners) along the lines of "Now, the rest of you, try to avoid the sins of this sinner," but in the late 18th century, they began to focus on praise and memory of the departed. So the ceremony represents a transition between the old and the new traditions, just as Angel does himself.
|Kate - "Look, no offense. I think you're probably a pretty decent guy for a ... you know ... what you are."|
|Angel - Ever since she ran me through with a two-by-four, things have been different|
| Wesley - I think you'll find most people require some period of adjustment after being confronted with the dark forces which surround us. Women in particular...
[Cordelia is kneeling over a demon with a hacksaw in hand]
| Cordelia - Found it!
[starts to saw into the demon]
|Wesley - ...struggle with it.|
|Liam - "The light ... it bothers my eyes just now."|
|Father - "And I know the reason why!" [kicks Liam out into the sunlight] "Up again all night, is it? Drinking and whoring! I can smell the stink of it on you!"|
|Liam - "And a 'good morning' to you, Father."|
|Father - "You're a disgrace."|
|Liam - "If you say so, Father."|
|Father - "Oh, I do. I do say so. Have you not had enough debauchery for one night? Must you corrupt the servants as well?"|
|Liam - "'Servant,' Father. We have one servant. Anyway, everyone gets corrupted. But I find some forms of corruption are more pleasant..." [rocks back as hard open-handed slap catches him full force]|
|Father - "I'm ashamed to call you my son. A lay-about and a scoundrel. You'll never amount to anything more than that."|
|Darla - "Who is he?"|
|Bar maid - "Who, that one?"|
|Darla - "Yes. He's magnificent."|
|Bar maid - "Ooh yah, God's gift, all right."|
|Darla - "Really! I've never known God to be so generous."|
|Bar maid - "Oh, his lies sound pretty when the stars are out, but he forgets every promise he's made when the sun comes up again."|
|Darla - "That wouldn't really be a problem for me, actually."|
|Father - "Liam! You'll do as I say."|
|Liam - [to his sister] "Sweet Kathy. No tears. We'll meet again."|
|Father - "Defy me now, you won't. Not as long as I live."|
|Liam - "You'll want to move away from the door now, father."|
|Father - "Go through it, but don't ever expect to come back."|
|Liam - "As you wish, father. Always, just as you wish."|
|Father - "It's a son I wished for! A man! Instead God gave me you! A terrible disappointment!"|
|Liam - "Disappointment? A more dutiful son you couldn't have asked for. My whole life you've told me in word, in glance, what it is you required of me, and I've lived down to your every expectations, now haven't I?"|
|Father - "That's madness!"|
|Liam - "No. The madness is that I couldn't fail enough for you. But we'll fix that now, won't we?"|
|Angelus - [To his father] "You told me I wasn't a man. You told me I was nothing. And I believed you. You said I'd never amount to anything. You were wrong. [vamps] You see, Father. I have made something of myself after all."|
|Darla - "This contest is ended, is it?"|
|Angelus - "Now I've won."|
|Darla - "Are you sure?"|
|Angelus - "Of course. I proved who had the power here."|
|Darla - "You think?"|
|Angel - [stands] "What?"|
|Darla - "Your victory over him took but moments."|
|Angelus - [looks back at his dead father] "Yes?"|
|Darla - "But his defeat of you will last lifetimes."|
|Angelus - "What are you talking about? He can't defeat me now."|
|Darla - "Nor can he ever approve of you, in this world, or any other. What we once were informs all that we have become. The same love will infect our hearts, even if they no longer beat. Simple death won't change that."|
|Angelus - "Love." [looks around at his dead family] "Is this the work of love?"|
|Darla - "Darling boy. So young, still so very young."|