Waiting in the Wings (Angel)

Waiting in the Wings (Angel)

Infobox Television episode
Title = Waiting in the Wings
Series = Angel

Caption = {Caption|}
Season = 3
Episode = 13
Airdate = February 4, 2002
Production = 3ADH13
Writer = Joss Whedon
Director = Joss Whedon
Guests = Andy Hallett
Mark Lutz
Mark Harelik
(Count Kurskov)
Episode list = List of "Angel" episodes
Prev = Provider
Next = Couplet

"Waiting in the Wings" is the thirteenth episode of season 3 in the television show "Angel". Written and directed by series creator Joss Whedon, it was originally broadcast on February 4, 2002 on the WB network. In "Waiting in the Wings", Angel takes the gang out for an evening at the ballet but becomes suspicious when the prima ballerina is one he saw dance more than 100 years ago. When Cordelia and Angel sneak backstage to investigate, they are consumed by overwhelming passion for each other as they are possessed by spirits of unrequited ballet lovers held captive by the sinister ballet troupe leader. Also, Fred finds that both Wesley and Gunn have feelings for her too, but she must eventually choose one of them.

See List of "Angel" episodes for a complete list.


Wesley researches a demon from one of Cordelia's visions while Cordelia questions Wesley about his romantic feelings towards Fred. After Gunn and Fred return from breakfast, Angel announces he is taking them all to a ballet production of "Giselle", by the same company he witnessed perform in 1890.

At the theater, the company's owner, Count Kurskov, promises the theater manager an unforgettable show while a shadowed figure watches from above the stage and laughs. In preparation for their glamorous night at the ballet, Fred and Cordelia shop for new dresses, which they intend to return after wearing them for the night. Subtly, Cordelia broaches the subject of Fred's romantic interests, but Cordelia thinks Fred's mind is on Wesley, when it's really on Gunn. Lorne informs Angel that he knows about the vampire's feelings for Cordelia and offers his encouragement while he helps remove baby spit from Angel's tuxedo.

Compliments are directed to everyone as their attire is revealed at the hotel, and they depart together. At the theater, Cordelia is literally bored to sleep while the others enjoy the show. Angel finds the dancers familiar since he saw the same people perform the first time he saw the show. During intermission, Angel tells his friends about his revelation. He and Cordelia sneak backstage to investigate, where they discover they are mystically trapped in a maze of corridors.

Looking through the prima ballerina's dressing room, Angel observes that the dressing room hasn't changed in two hundred years as Cordelia examines a cross necklace from a table. Both feel the room warm, and Cordelia suddenly asks Angel to undress her. Soon they find themselves possessed by spirits in love and are unable to keep their hands off each other, until Cordelia accidentally burns Angel with the cross. Both come to their senses and leave the dressing room before things go too far.

Worried, Fred encourages the guys to help her look for the missing Angel and Cordelia. The Count directs his demon minions to deal with those sneaking around backstage. While trying to escape the backstage halls, Cordelia recalls an element of fear she felt while possessed. She convinces Angel to reenter the dressing room so that they can break the spell holding them backstage, where they are possessed by the spirits again with wild passion for each other. Cordelia calls Angel "Stefan" and confesses her fears of another man who is controlling her life. They kiss, and "Stefan" offers to take her away, but she wants him to help her deal with the problem instead. As Fred tends to a wound Gunn received in the battle with the Count's minions, he jokes about his injury, and Fred gets emotional because she thought he was seriously hurt. The two kiss as Wesley quietly discovers them and walks away sadly.

The ballet continues on stage as the gang gathers backstage. Wesley explains that the Count was a wizard who discovered the prima ballerina whom he adored had a lover. To repay her for her betrayal, the count forced her into a temporal shift where she would dance for only him, forever. As Angel searches for the Count's power center, he finds the prima ballerina waiting in the wings, resigned to perform the same dance for the rest of eternity. Angel tells her to break the magic holding her prisoner, she has to change the dance. She dances on stage using her own steps. Angel attacks the Count and, guessing the power center is in a medallion the count wears, smashes it with a powerful punch, finally releasing the ballet dancers. Wesley dresses Gunn's injury and watches on in emotional agony as Fred and Gunn exchange loving looks.

Angel and Cordelia agree to forget whatever happened between them while they were possessed. Angel starts to admit his true feelings for Cordelia, but the Groosalugg from Pylea appears on the stairs, drawing Cordelia's attention away from Angel. Groo and Cordelia kiss as Lorne comes downstairs to inform Angel that Pylea has formed a republic; with no need for a leader, Groo returned for his true love, Cordelia. Dejected, Angel goes upstairs to check on Connor while Fred and Wesley watch on, both realizing the path of love is not something that can be foretold.


In the DVD commentary, writer/director Joss Whedon revealed that the main impetus for this episode was learning that Amy Acker danced ballet for fifteen years, [Citation |url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/news/buffy/2003/01/27/1643.shtml |title=Angel DVD: Extra Ballet |date=27 January 2003 |publisher=BBC ] although he also was excited to see the group dressed up.Citation |url=http://www.cityofangel.com/behindTheScenes/bts4/dvdReview.html |title=Angel Season 3 DVD Collection REVIEW |first=Kristy |last=Bratton ]

While Whedon was filming the dressing room scene with Cordelia and Angel, he explains that he wanted to shoot it in one continuous camera shot to "get the space, to keep the camera moving, to get the magical feel for the whole thing." However, in rehearsal at the moment that Cordelia stands in front of the mirror, David Boreanaz was standing behind her, reflected. Whedon remembers, "I said, 'That's great, and then we'll go to David's reflections and then we'll go to her here,' and then everybody got very quiet and I believe it was Ross Berryman the director of photography who said, 'You do remember that he's a vampire, yes?'"

Whedon filmed a scene in which Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof dance in the ballet. The scene, which was ultimately cut, was a fantasy of Wesley's during the performance. In the scene, Amy Acker - who danced ballet for fifteen years - dances properly, while Alexis Denisof dances farcically. [Whedon, Joss, "Waiting in the Wings (Commentary with Joss Whedon). "Angel: Season Three on DVD", Twentieth Century Fox, 2003.] The scene is included on the DVD as a bonus feature. ["Deleted Scene With Optional Commentary by Joss Whedon", "Angel: Season Three on DVD", Twentieth Century Fox, 2003.]

This episode was shot on location at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Los Angeles.


This episode features Summer Glau as a Prima Ballerina cursed to carry out the same performance over and over again. Summer, who is a classically trained ballerina, would go on to star in "Angel" co-creator Joss Whedon's Firefly later that year as River Tam. [Citation |url=http://www.universalhd.com/Firefly/Bios/Summer_Glau.shtml |title=Biographies: Summer Glau ]

Main Cast

*David Boreanaz as Angel
*Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
*Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
*J. August Richards as Charles Gunn
*Amy Acker as Winifred Burkle

Guest stars

*Andy Hallett as Lorne
*Mark Harelik as Count Kurskov
*Mark Lutz as The Groosalugg


*Summer Glau as Prima Ballerina
*Thomas Crawford as Manager
*Don Tiffany as Security Guard


This episode begins Wesley's withdrawal from the group, caused by Fred and Gunn's romance, which will contribute to the events of "Sleep Tight".


*French title: "Les Coulisses de l'éternité" ("Eternity's backstage")
*German title: "Liebe und andere Schwierigkeiten" ("Love and other difficulties")
*Italian title: "Dietro le quinte" ("Behind the scenes")


*Angel mentions that he has been possessed by the spirits of dead lovers before, a reference to the events of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode "I Only Have Eyes for You".


In her essay examining the maturation of Wesley's character over time, Stacey Abbott writes, "Denisof delivers a fearless comedic performance as he...prances across the stage with little grace and elegance", undercutting the romantic atmosphere of the ballet - which ultimately resulted in the scene being cut to maintain the more serious tone of the episode. [Citation |title= Reading Angel: The TV Spin-off With a Soul
editor=Stacey Abbott |first=Stacey |last=Abbott |pages=203 |publisher=I.B.Tauris |year= 2005 |chapter=Nobody Scream... Or Touch My Arms: The Comic Stylings of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=7B42U0hgDy0C&printsec=frontcover#PRA3-PA201,M1


External links


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