''He must help a woman stalked by a man with unnatural abilities. A man who will destroy anyone who comes between him and his obsession.''

Angel I Fall To Pieces - 1ADH04

Written by Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt - Directed by Vern Gilum - First Aired on October 26, 1999

Synopsis - Creature Feature - Cool Quotes - References - Continuity - Goofs - Trivia - The Morgue - Cast - Famous Faces - Points Of View


The Short: From the
WB11 home page: As Cordelia and Angel continue the debate of whether or not to charge for their services, Doyle receives a vision of yet another woman in distress. Angel pays a visit to her workplace and learns that the woman is being terrorized by her neurosurgeon who is somehow mysteriously able to watch her every move. After some detective work, Angel and Cordelia discover that the doctor is able to disconnect appendages from his body and prey on his victims, but when the doctor pays a visit to Angel's apartment, Angel separates him, permanently. Grateful for the protection, the young woman pays the agency for its service, and a very joyous Cordelia and Doyle go out to celebrate.

Cordelia The Long: We open in the morning at the Angel Investigations office. Cordelia complains to Doyle about all the bills they have (see Goof #1). She thinks they should be charging money for their services. Doyle agrees but he says Angel hates bringing up the finances. Angel walks in and has a bad cup of coffee then they argue about asking people for money (see Reference #1). Doyle has a vision about a woman named Melissa Burns and Angel goes to work. (Listen to the teaser here.)

Cordelia and Doyle The vision takes Angel to an office building where Melissa Burns has just received a bouquet of flowers, with a note that reads, ''My undying love. Ronald.'' She's so freaked out by this that she dashes to the ladies' room and pops a few tranquilizers, then leaves the building. On the way to her car, she's stopped by Angel, who gives her his card, and offers to help. Melissa, obviously unsettled, says she can't afford help, and drives away. Angel goes back to the office where he talks with Cordelia and Doyle about how they should get involved. Doyle insists they have to keep the relationship professional and wait for her to hire them. Melissa stops at the ATM, where she tries to withdraw cash, but can't, her PIN is invalid. As she tries again, Ronald steps forward. He's changed her PIN, and explains that he's looking out for her, seeing as they're in love, but Melissa's hardly in love with him, they only went on one date (see Reference #2-3). Ronald gets paged to surgery and has to run off. Fully creeped out by this run-in with Ronald, Melissa decides she could use some help after all, and pays Angel Investigations a visit (see Goof #2). There she explains to Doyle, Cordelia and Angel about Dr. Ronald Meltzer, a neurosurgeon who seven months earlier operated on her, saving her sight. Afterwards he asked her out, and though she wasn't interested, she felt obligated, and joined him for a drink, just once. Then he started calling her, and showing up at work, and her apartment, saying they had something special, and should get married. She rebuffed him, but that only made it worse. She tells them she can feel him watching her (see Reference #4). After Melissa leaves Angel and Cordelia wonder how Ronald does it. Cordelia suggests it might not be supernatural, but Angel says Doyle had a vision, so chances are it's something supernatural (see Continuity #1). Later, while Melissa undresses back at her apartment, Ronald is watching her, with a floating eye he's removed from his head. Apparently,

Kate Angel decides to find out more about this Dr. Meltzer. He checks up on Ronald with Kate as Doyle spends the day with watching Melissa (see Reference #5 and Continuity #2). Kate finds that Melissa filed a police report on Ronald two months ago, but Ronald used his lawyers from Wolfram & Hart to get out of it (see Reference #6 and Continuity #3). Kate puts an officer near Melissa's building. Angel sneaks into Ronald's office, but while he's browsing the doctor's bookshelf, Ronald enters the room and demands to know why he's there (see Goof #3). Angel lies, making up a name and saying his wife needs neurosurgical help, and that he came because he heard Dr. Meltzer could give it. Ronald says that kind of surgery is too dangerous, and he can't do it, but Angel, picking up a photo of Melissa from his desk to emphasize the depth of his own love, says he's not willing to give up so easily. At a hospital Cordelia poses as a writer asking questions about Ronald to an intern. The intern says many of Ronalds claims are considered radical by the medical world. Cordelia reports on her findings to Angel (see Reference #7-8). Angel finds out about a doctor who went into retreat after spending time with Ronald and attempts to contact him. Later Angel talks to the doctor about the things Ronald can do. The doctor says Ronald exploded all his theories on psychic surgery, leaving all others behind. That night Ronald spies on Melissa, lurking outside her apartment. A cop pulls up, points a gun at him, and asks him to put up his hands, but Ronald's hands aren't on the ends of his wrists, they're in Melissa's bedroom, crawling under the covers. Seeing that Ronald is handless, the cop lets him go.

Angel gets poisoned Melissa wakes and realizes where Ronald's hands are, her screams bring the cop running. He doesn't find anything... until Ronald's hands find his neck and strangle him to death. Melissa runs out of her house and Angel is there to comfort her, as Ronald watches from a distance. Kate is called in to investigate the killing, but she doesn't know how he did it (see Reference #9). Although they have fingerprints of the killer, Angel knows if they catch Ronald they won't be able to keep him in jail. Angel plans to break Ronald up and put him in boxes. To keep Melissa safe, Angel brings her back to his place, which they fortify to protect themseleves from Ronald. When the phone rings, it's Ronald, looking for the guy Angel said he was when he snuck in his office. Ronald says he'll perform the surgery, but it has to be out of the country, and that he needs $100,000 up front. Angel says he'll be right over with the cash, but Ronald knows Angel's not who he says he was. When Angel arrives at Ronald's office, Ronald is ready for him, with a deadly paralytic injector dart (see Reference #10). While Angel lies writhing on the floor and Ronald says he won't be made a fool of.

Hand At Angel's apartment Cordelia and Doyle talk about relationships as they wait for Angel to return (see Reference #11). As they talk we see Ronald's hands sneaking in through the vents. Doyle and Cordelia think they hear something and are distracted while Ronald slips in. Ronald takes care of Doyle and Cordelia. Ronald starts to threaten Melissa, but she stands up to him. Before Ronald can put a scalpel to Melissa, Angel returns (see Cool Quotes #1). Ronald attacks Angel with disconnecting body parts, but Angel knocks Ronald to pieces. The next morning Angel reassures Cordelia and Doyle that Ronald's pieces are buried in cement in steel boxes, Ronald's days of neurosurgery and harassment are through. Melissa, feeling much better about the world, stops by the office to drop off a plant for Angel, and to pay her bill. Melissa thanks Angel and hopes she will never see him again. Cordelia and Doyle go out to deposit the pay check and celebrate, while Angel stays in, so he doesn't burst into flames.

Creature Feature

Ronald Doctor Ronald Meltzer has the ability to psychically remove and re-attach parts of his body at will. He is able to control and sense through these body parts as if they were still attached and has limited telekinetic control over them. His power is similar to that of the character in the Wild Cards book series named Patchwork.

In this episode we see again that poisons do affect vampires. Since it was a poison that paralyzes the muscles of animals stopping the heart, I would guess it paralyzed all his muscles, rendering him unable to move, and since vampires have no respiration or heartbeat he appeared to be dead.

Cool Quotes

  1. Ronald: ''I'm weak? Then how was it I killed him?''
    Angel: ''Inefficiently.''
    Ronald: ''You can't be alive. You you're not human!''
    Melissa: ''You should talk.''
    Okay, I admit, that was funny. Listen to the quote


  1. Cordelia: ''Last week's coffee. Think of it as Espresso.''
    Angel: ''I think my esophagus is melting.''
    Espresso is a brewing process by which the classic, dark-roasted cup of black coffee, full-bodied but aromatic, is made, and it is possibly the most difficult and potentially the most expensive way to make coffee. The word ''espresso'' derives from the Italian verb meaning ''to put under pressure,'' and that is exactly how the coffee is made. Boiling water and steam are forced through very finely ground coffee, preferably one without too much acidity, to produce a unique style of coffee with bite and great persistence on the palate.
    The esophagus is the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach.

  2. Ronald: ''It won't work. I've changed your PIN number. I mean, Melissa, your birthday? That's the first thing a thief would try.''
    PIN stands for Personal Identification Number, and is commonly used for automatic teller machines to identify clients. Saying ''your PIN number'' is technically wrong, and should simply be ''your PIN.''

  3. Ronald: ''Now I prescribed a calcium-selenium supplement Did you take it?''
    Calcium is a greyish-white chemical element found in bones and teeth.
    Selenium is a nonmetallic element of the sulfur group that varies in its electrical resistivity with the intensity of illumination.

  4. Melissa: ''I know it sounds stupid, but I can feel him watching me all the time. Today at work, he knew I took my Xanitab when I was alone in the bathroom. I mean, how did he see that? He is just everywhere. I don't think I can take much more of this.''
    Xanitab, which is what the closed captioning called the drug, doesn't seem to exist. It is possible Melissa said ''xanex tab''. Xanex is a drug used to treat anxiety disorders.

    To Protect And To Serve
  5. Melissa: ''You know you really don't have to stay with me all day.''
    Doyle: ''Protect and serve. It's entirely my bag.''
    ''To Protect And To Serve'' is the motto of many police departments, including the L.A.P.D.

    Johnny Cochran
  6. Kate: ''Yeah. They're the law firm that Johnny Cochran is too ethical to join.''
    Johnny Cochran is a defence lawyer who became famous in his defence of
    O.J. Simpson when he was charged with a double murder. His detractors site his flamboyant style and possibly unethical method of attacking witnesses motives.

  7. Cordelia: ''What is stalking now a days the third most popular sport among men?''
    Angel: ''Fourth after luge.''
    Luge is a form of small-sled racing. The sled, called a luge, is of wood, plastic, or fiberglass construction, with wide runners faced with steel. The maximum weight of the sled is 23 kg (50.7 pounds) for singles and 27 kg (59.5 pounds) for doubles. It is ridden in a supine position and steered by subtle leg and shoulder movements.

    O.J. Simpson
  8. Cordelia: ''I don't get it. This guy has a lot to lose. What is it about Melissa that's got him to going all O.J. here?''
    Orenthal James Simpson is a former football player and actor who was accused of killing his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but found not guilty. He was found liable for their deaths in a later civil trial.

    Harry Houdini
  9. Kate: ''How could he do it? I mean, she's got bars on her windows. The security cameras in the hallway show our officers going in and nobody suspicious all day. I mean, who is this guy, Houdini?''
    Harry Houdini (1874-1926) was an American magician, born in Hungary as Erich Weiss. He took his stage name from the French magician Houdin. He was world-famous for his escapes from every sort of bond and sealed container and for his exposure of fraudulent spiritualistic mediums.

    Sit Walter Scott
  10. Ronald: ''I mean your name is not really Jensen. You don't have a wife. What a tangled web, eh?''
    ''Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive'' is from the poem Marmion, a tale of Flodden Field, written by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).

    Funny Girl
  11. Doyle: ''Well, people need people, and people who need people are the luckiest..''
    This is a line from the song People from the 1968 comedy film Funny Girl. Plot: The life of comedienne Fannie Brice, from her early days in the Jewish slums of the Lower East Side, to the height of her career with the Ziegfeld Follies, including her marriage to and eventual divorce from her first husband, Nick Arnstein.


  1. Cordelia: ''Maybe he has an accomplice, or a hidden camera. Not everything has to be creepy and supernatural, you know.''
    Angel: ''Not everything, but Doyle had a vision.''
    Cordelia: ''Which last time led to a sex-changing-body-switching-tear-your-innards-out-demon, right. I guess they don't call you for their every day cases.''
    Lonely Hearts - Cordelia refers to the last time Doyle had a vision, leading them to Talamour.

  2. Melissa: ''Wow, it happens that often?''
    Doyle: ''Well, exactly like yours? Not quite so many, but protecting young women such as yourself? Yeah, there've been, ah four, and three of them are very much alive.''
    Doyle is probably referring to Tina and Cordelia in City Of, Kate in Lonely Hearts and Rachel in In The Dark. Tina didn't survive.
    Tina Cordelia Kate Rachel

  3. Kate: ''His lawyers. Wolfram & Hart. You know the name?''
    Angel: ''I've heard it.''
    City Of - Wolfram & Hart was the law firm employed by Russell Winters.


    Letters 2 Letters 1
  1. As Cordelia walks to her desk she puts the bills in her left hand. The camera switches to a rear shot and her left hand is clearly empty, and the bills have teleported to her right hand. As they switch camera views from Cordelia to Doyle with Cordelia in the foreground the bills change again instantly.

    Reflection 1
  2. When Angel and crew are interviewing Melissa you can catch a glimpse of Angel's reflection in his desk's finish as he moves around, even though he is a vampire and should cast no reflection.

    Reflection 2
  3. When Angel spies on Ronald in his office, he walks past a chrome light switch cover. You can see his reflection in it, despite the fact that he is a vampire and should cast no reflection.


  • The title ''I Fall To Pieces'' was a hit song by Patsy Cline in 1962. This song was heard in the episode Prophecy Girl. You can download a clip of the song here.

  • You can download audio clips from this episode at http://www.glennquinn.com/multimedia/audio/angel_ifalltopieces.html.

  • Doyle quotes the song People by Barbara Streisand. You can download a clip of the song here.

  • Angel drinks coffee, despite the fact that in The Prom he told Joyce he didn't because it makes him jittery.

  • Ronald states he met Melissa on March 5, 1999. This is between the airdates of Doppelgangland and Enemies.

  • Presumably some time during this episode Angel is invited into Doctor Vinpur Natpudan's home.

  • We have our first reoccurring non-star character on the show: Detective Kate Lockley, who was last seen in Lonely Hearts.

  • Doyle mentions he has an aunt Tudy.

  • New names for Angel: Brian Jensen (by himself), The Night Deposit Guy (by Doyle) and Vacuous L.A. Pretty Boy (by Ronald).

  • New name for Cordelia: Princess (by Doyle).

  • The Morgue

    1. Cop: In Melissa's house, strangled by Ronald.
    2. Ronald: Presumably he died after Angel took him apart and buried the pieces.


    Angel David Boreanaz as Angel
    Cordelia Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
    Doyle Glenn Quinn as Allen Francis Doyle

    Guest Starring:
    Kate Elisabeth Rohm as Detective Kate Lockley
    Melissa Tushka Bergen as Melissa Burns
    Ronald Andy Umberger as Doctor Ronald Meltzer
    Vinpur Carlos Carrasco as Doctor Vinpur Natpudan

    Cop Brent Sexton as the Beat Cop
    Intern Garikayi Mutambirwa as the Intern
    Coming soon! Kent Davis as John
    Penny Jan Bartlett as Penny
    Coming soon! Patricia Gillum as the Woman Patient
    Hand Christopher Hart as Ronald's Hands

    Famous Faces

    D'Hoffryn Ronald Andy Umberger, who played Ronald, also played the demon D'Hoffryn in Doppelgangland, which had Angel and Cordelia in it, though they never met D'Hoffryn. He reprised the roll of D'Hoffryn in later episodes. He also played the part of Agent Chesty Short in the X-Files episode Requiem 7.22.

    Vinpur Star Trek fans may not recognize Carlos Carrasco's face, but he has played several parts on various Trek series. On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine he played Krole in Honor Among Thieves 6.15, the Klingon officer in Shattered Mirror 4.20 and D'Ghor in The House of Quark 3.03. On Star Trek: Voyager he played Bahrat in Fair Trade 3.13.

    Edwards Cop Brent Sexton, who played the beat cop, played Edwards in the Special Unit 2 episode The Brothers 1.01. He was also in the X-Files twice, as the grave digger in Patience 8.03 and Steven Melnick in Medusa 8.12.

    Hand Thing Christopher Hart, the actor who played Ronald's hands is a magician and hand actor who you probably have seen in The Addams Family series of films playing Thing and in Idle Hands playing the evil hand.

    Points Of View


    Okay, I Fall To Pieces was not that bad. The villain was definitely original, although they didn't really go in to WHY he could do what he did. Yet another helpless damsel to be saved, getting a little old here! The story was definitely creepy, but I think Ronald was defeated too easily for all the work they put into how unstoppable he was.

    7 out of 10

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