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Season 3, Episode 1
Airdate September 24, 2001
Production Number 3ADH01
Written by David Greenwalt
Directed by David Greenwalt
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That Vision Thing
AngelSeason Three

Heartthrob is the first episode of the third season of Angel, and the forty-fifth episode overall.

Starring: David Boreanaz (Angel), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce), J. August Richards (Charles Gunn), Amy Acker (Winifred "Fred" Burkle)

Special Guest Star: Julie Benz (Darla)

Guest Starring: Andy Hallett (Lorne), Ron Melendez (James), Kate Norby (Elisabeth)

and Keith Szarabajka (Daniel Holtz)

Co-Starring: Matthew James (Merl), Koji Kataoka (Pilgrim), Sam Littlefield (Young Man Hostage), Dalila Brown-Geiger (Sandy), Christian Hastings (Vamp #1), Bob Fimiani (Codger Demon), Robert Madrid (Rough Man), Bob Morrisey (Dr. Gregson)


Plot Overview

As Angel continues to mourn the death of Buffy, a vampire from his past comes after him when he learns that he’s responsible for staking the love of his life.


Monster of the Week

  • There is no monster of the week in this episode that gets a great deal of detail other than James.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Vampire Gunn Staked Empty Street
2 Vampire Wesley Staked Empty Street
3 Elisabeth Angel Staked Empty Street
4 Vampire James Burst into Flames Car Wreck Site
5 James Dusted Subway Car
8 Nicaraguan Man Darla Blood Drained Bar


Music is listed in order of appearance in the episode:

  • Crystal Method - "The Winner"
  • Douglas Cross and George Cory - "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"
  • Morphic Field - "Blackjack"

Arc Advancement



  • Angel: After hearing about Buffy's death, Angel disappeared for 3 months to go to a spiritual retreat in Sri Lanka. Or, at least that's what he thought he was going to do. It turns out they were demon monks.
  • Cordelia: The visions Cordelia has been receiving seem to be getting worse with each occurrence.
  • Darla: Darla is in Nicaragua looking for a shaman. She's also extremely pregnant, presumably with Angel's child even though vampires are supposed to be sterile.


  • 1x03 - In the Dark: After an incident in Sunnydale, Oz delivered the ring of Amarra to Angel. The ring rendered vampires invulnerable, but Angel smashed it when he realized that it wouldn't make up for his atonement.
Cordelia: The ring of Amarra, when you had that, you were invincible. Does he have a ring?


The Show

  • Credited: This is the first episode in which Amy Acker gains billing for her role as Fred.
  • Cameo in Name Only: The two vampire lovers in this episode were named after David Greenwalt's assistant on the show, Elisabeth James. Greenwalt wrote and directed this episode.

Behind the Scenes

  • Aspect Ratio: This is the first episode of the series that is broadcast in widescreen in its original airing. The second season was also shot in widescreen, but it was only broadcast as such on the European DVD release. According to the DVD commentary on this episode, Tim Minear said that the reason why they went with widescreen was to distance the series from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which moved to UPN during this season.
  • Cut Scene: A scene in which Cordelia explains the significance of Elisabeth's necklace to Angel, Gunn and Wesley was cut from this episode due to time. The exchange went as follows:
Cordelia: You see me wearing Curt Eisenthorpe's football ring or Xander's meet medallion?
(all three men look at her. Gunn turns to Wesley and Angel)
Gunn: I'd like to take this one. (to Cordelia) So... What kind of meat did he have that earned him a medallion?
Cordelia: Not that kind of meet. Swim meet, he was on the swim team. Get your mind out of the gutter. All of you!
  • Ratings: On its first airing, this episode scored a 4.2/6 in the overnight Nielsen ratings. It was ranked 2nd out of the 12 WB shows which aired that week.

Allusions and References

  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Fred tells Angel that when everything makes sense again, there's a click in your brain. This line is paraphrased from the Tennessee Williams play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, where Brick said the same thing.
Fred: When it all comes together and makes sense, there's like a click in your brain and you understand things again.

Memorable Moments


  • Cordelia has her arms up when she's putting on the necklace, but arm down when it cuts to a different angle. One of the latter shows up holding it before it cuts to her still putting it on.
  • During the fight, Gunn and Wesley stake the vampires, but while we can hear the accompanied dusting noise, they are still there and can be seen in subsequent shots.
  • Gunn tosses Wesley the stake and uses it on the vampire, but despite Angel's fight with Elisabeth occurring subsequent to this, the background events repeat.


  • Cordelia: I understand people who drink too much. I understand people who put a little note on the parking meter that says it's broken when it's not. I don't understand people who worship demons.
Gunn: Yeah. Especially a Lurite demon. The stink on that thing. You prince of the underworld, brah, take a jacuzzi once in a while.
Wesley: It's sad. The only way some people can find a purpose in life is by becoming obsessed with demons. By the way, Gunn, technically, that wasn't a Lurite demon. It was a Murite, a subspecies of the Lurite. The male sports a small telltale fin just behind the third shoulder.
Gunn: So glad to know we're not the sad people obsessed with demons.
  • Wesley: I realise we sacrifice a great deal of our social lives, but we have to. Work demands it.
Gunn: True. I mean, who's got time for love when you're out there doing it with the demons? Didn't that come out sad and wrong?
Cordelia: Yeah.
Gunn: I need to get out more.
  • Wesley: (regarding Fred) Nice girl.
Cordelia: Nice, but not making the giant stride towards mental health.
  • Gunn: (about Angel) The "B" word was the love of his life, and he's what? 250? That ain’t no short life. This grief work’s gonna take more than a vacation in Sri Lanka.
  • Gunn: Hmm. Angel and a bunch of monks in the middle of nowhere. There's a party! He should have got hammered and gone to Vegas just like I told him.
  • (subtitled)
Pilgrim: What happened?
Angel: Demon Monks. Shoulda gone to Vegas.
  • Cordelia: Oh my gosh! It's gorgeous! And look how it brings out my breasts! (beat) You know you were all thinkin' it.
  • Darla: Young love.
Angelus: Give it a century.
James: A century? A mere hundred years?
Elisabeth: I would need a thousand to sketch the perfect plane of your face.
James: And I would need ten thousand just to name the colour of your eyes.
Angelus: They're green. But take your time.
  • Elizabeth: You know neither poetry nor love, Angelus.
Darla: He knows other things - marvellously vile and ripping things.
  • Darla: Of course, when he finally did catch up with me in Vienna, I had to pay for my sins, again and again.
Angelus: Can you even begin to fathom the things we did? Of course not. You're in love.
  • Wesley: Gunn and I'll hit the streets; see what our sources can tell us.
Cordelia: Uh-huh. See? We have sources now.
Angel: Wow. You're almost like real detectives.
Gunn: Hey!
  • Cordelia: (about Buffy) She was the love of your life and she died. And you weren't there when it happened. You couldn't help her fight. You couldn't save her. You couldn't die with her.
  • Angelus: Why are people always running off and leaving me? Am I a bad bloke? I don't think so. Not once you get to know me.
  • Fred: I came out of my room. Small steps, like you said.
Angel: Go back to your room and stay there!
Fred: Okay, then.
  • Cordelia: The Ring of Amarra. When you had that, you were invincible. Does he have a ring?
Angel: No.
Cordelia: Did the Amarra people make cuff links or belt buckles?
  • Angel: This your idea of love, James? It's not real unless it kills you?
James: Yeah, what's yours? "It's fun as long as it doesn't cost me anything?" You don't know what love is. You think you won just because you're still alive? I lived; you just existed.
  • Angel: I'm okay.
Cordelia: Then what's the problem?
Angel: That I'm okay. That losing Buffy didn't kill me. That I could deal with it. In all those years, no one ever mattered. Not like she did. And now she's gone... forever.
Cordelia: And you're still here.
Angel: Yeah. It just feels like I'm betraying her somehow.
Cordelia: No! If you were a loser, if you were a sick obsessed vampire, then you'd go to a Snod demon, or whatever, and get your heart cut out. But you're not! You're a living, breathing - well, living, anyway - good guy, who's still fighting and trying to help people, and that's not betraying her. That's honouring her.
Angel: You think?
Cordelia: I'm Cordelia. I don't think. I know. Okay?