Are You Now or Have You Ever Been

Infobox Television episode
Title = Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
Series = Angel

Caption = {Caption|}
Season = 2
Episode = 2
Airdate = October 3, 2000
Production = 2ADH02
Writer = Tim Minear
Director = David Semel
Guests = Tommy Hinkley
John Kapelos
Episode list = List of "Angel" episodes
Prev = Judgment
Next = First Impressions

"Are You Now or Have You Ever Been" is episode 2 of season 2 in the television show "Angel". Written by Tim Minear and directed by David Semel, it was originally broadcast on October 3, 2000 on the WB network. In "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been", Angel recalls a traumatic experience during the 1950s at the Hyperion Hotel.

See also List of "Angel" episodes.


Angel asks Wesley and Cordelia to look into the mysterious history of the abandoned Hyperion Hotel. A photograph of the hotel blends into an action shot of the hotel exterior during the 1950s, as the manager sends the bellhop upstairs to give the guest in 217 his weekly bill. The bellhop nervously makes his delivery then runs downstairs, as Angel — the feared occupant of 217 — opens the door. As the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings blare on a TV, Angel strolls through the lobby. He observes a man banging on a door, and the manager turning away an African-American family, telling them that - despite what their sign says - the hotel has no vacancies. Back in his room, he finds a woman pretending to be a maid. When Angel calls her bluff, she tells him that she's hiding from her boyfriend, the man earlier seen banging on the door. Angel helps her hide from him.

In the present, the group arrives at the Hyperion. As Angel heads upstairs, Cordelia discovers that the property is a historical landmark, plagued by strange events since it was built. Wesley spots Angel in a 1952 photograph of the hotel lobby, and realizes that Angel has a personal connection to the Hyperion.

In 1952, the salesman in the room next to Angel's listens to a record, talks to someone unseen, then holds a gun to his head. Angel hears a gunshot and the record skipping, and drinks his chilled glass of blood without reacting. When the manager and bellhop discover the salesman’s suicide, the manager hears a demonic voice whispering "They’ll shut you down" and instructs the bellhop not to call the police; instead they hide the body in a meat locker. That night, the guests gather at an observatory, where they discuss the suicide and wonder why the cops hadn't been notified. Judy tries to thank Angel, but he is unreceptive. The next day, the guests continue to discuss the salesman, questioning if he might have been murdered. Upstairs, when Angel comments on Judy's agitation, she confesses the man banging on the door was a PI sent by the bank from which she stole money. She was fired when they found out that — although she "passes" as white — she is actually one half African American. Judy laments her decision to steal, and Angel replies that “fear makes people do stupid things," then clarifies he was referring to her employers. As Angel stashes Judy's bag of money in the basement, he hears whispering and realizes something in the hotel is making people crazy.

In the present, Cordelia and Wesley find newspaper reports of the bellhop’s arrest for the salesman’s murder, and an article about Judy with the headline, “Search Called Off — Fugitive Woman Believed Dead.” Down in the basement, Angel finds the bag of money and once again hears the whispering. He joins the others, announcing the hotel hosts a Thesulac demon that whispers to its victims, then feeds on their insecurities. He says he already knows the ritual to make it corporeal so that it can be killed.

In 1952, Angel returns from a bookstore where he learned the ritual to corporealize the demon; meanwhile, the PI reveals Judy’s secret. When the guests turn on her, she points them towards Angel, announcing that he has blood in his room. Everyone attacks Angel, except Judy, who starts to cry. Angel is dragged into the hallway; a noose is tied to a rafter and he is pushed over the railing to hang. The crowd cheers, then slowly wonders what they’ve done. When everyone leaves, Angel lets himself drop into the lobby. On the stairs, the Thesulac demon becomes corporeal, gloating about the paranoia he just fed on; as Angel's friend, Judy's betrayal was more delicious, saying that Angel's intervention had made her "a meal that will last a lifetime". The demon says, “There's an entire hotel here just full of tortured souls that could use your help." Angel replies,“Take them all.”

In the present, Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn arrive at the Hyperion and, after performing the spell to make the Thesulac corporeal, Angel electrocutes it with the exposed wires of the fuse box. Angel heads upstairs and finds Judy, now old, still in her room, where she has served as the Demon's "room service" since 1952. She says the voices were gone, and asks Angel if its safe to go out. He tells her it is, but she is so tired that she needs to rest first. She then tells Angel that she is sorry she killed him and just before she passes away, he assures her he's okay and tells her he forgives her. Angel returns downstairs; “We’re moving in,” he announces. Wesley reminds Angel that evil things have happened in the hotel, but Angel tells him that all of that is in the past.

Production details

This episode introduces the Hyperion Hotel, which will be "Angel"'s main set until season 5. Production designer Stuart Blatt explains that after blowing up Angel's cramped office in the season one finale, he had the opportunity to create a bigger, more "film-friendly" set that the crew and cameras could move through freely. Creator Joss Whedon suggested an abandoned hotel, something similar to the hotel in Coen Brothers' "Barton Fink". [cite web | title =Interview with Stuart Blatt, Angel Production Designer: Hotel living | publisher=BBC | url= | accessdate=2007-10-08 ] The exterior shots of the Hyperion are of a historical building on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles called the Los Altos Hotel & Apartments, which Blatt had previously used in the episode "I Fall to Pieces".cite web | title =Interview with Stuart Blatt, Angel Production Designer: Inside outside | publisher =BBC | url= | accessdate =2007-10-08 ] The Los Altos was home to many Hollywood celebrities — including Bette Davis, Mae West, and William Randolph Hearst — before the Great Depression, [Citation |url= |last=Telleria |first=Abby Garcia |title=Los Altos Apartments |publisher=Multifamily Executive Magazine |date= November 15, 2006|accessdate=10-9-2007 ] similar to the fictional history of the Hyperion featured in this episode. Blatt says the front doors of the Hyperion are "exact duplicates" of those at the Los Altos, and the back garden closely resembles the back garden in the apartments, which allows the crew to film the characters entering and exiting the building on location. "Then we cut to the interior of the hotel," Blatt says, which is on a sound stage, "and it all works fairly seamlessly."

The nighttime scenes between Angel and Judy were filmed on location at the Griffith Park Observatory, which overlooks Los Angeles.cite web | title =TV Locations - part 7 | publisher =Gary Wayne | url = | accessdate =2007-08-04 ]


Main cast

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

Guest stars

*Melissa Marsala as Judy Kovacs
*John Kapelos as Ronald Meeks
*Tommy Hinkley as The Private Investigator
*Brett Rickaby as Bookstore Owner
*Scott Thompson Baker as Actor
*J. P. Manoux as The Bellman


*David Kagen as Salesman
*Terrence Beasor as Older Man
*Julie Araskog as Over the Hill Whore
*Tom Beyer as Blacklisted Writer
*Eve Sigall as Old Judy


This is another episode by writer Tim Minear that explores Angel's background. "He's cynical, I-don't-get-involved guy, and I thought that was a very interesting place to be," says Minear. "Although he does reach out to help someone in the episode, it doesn't take much to push him out of that light." When fans point out the flashback scene in "Buffy" in which Angel is living on the streets of New York City, Minear deflects the accusation of retconning by saying, "I don't believe he was thrown out of that room in Romania by Darla in 1898 and has been on the street ever the 1950s, that was the beginning of his descent into the streets." [Citation |url=
title=Writer-producer Tim Minear on directing `Darla` |first=Edward |last=Gross |date=November 13, 2000 |accessdate=2007-09-27

The theme of otherness is carried through this episode by exploring LA's history of social exclusion. The hysteria provoked by the paranoia demon mirrors the fears of communism surrounding LA's entertainment community, the black family told there is 'no vacancies' reflects the exclusion of African Americans from public establishments, and Angel's lynching echoes white supremacist violence against blacks. This both captures the connection between anti-communism and racist policing, and serves as direct comment on the perpetuation of past prejudices and relevance to recent events. [Citation |url=,M1 |date=2005 |isbn=1850438390 |accessdate=10-11-2007 |publisher=I.B.Tauris |chapter="LA's got it all": Hybridity and Otherness in "Angel"s Postmodern City |pages=105-106]

Arc significance

The flashback scenes reveal that in the 1950s, Angel bore "a contempt for humanity that is reminiscent of Angelus but without the sadism". His decision to allow the demon to feed on the hotel residents foreshadow his decision later in the season to allow Darla and Drusilla to slaughter the Wolfram & Hart lawyers.Citation |title=Walking the Fine Line Between Angel and Angelus |first=Stacey |last=Abbott |journal=Slayage |volume=9 |url=] Both times Angel deems that the humans in jeopardy aren't worth saving.

Cultural references

*McCarthyism: The episode's title is based on the "$64 question" posed during Congressional hearings held in the 1950s by the House Un-American Activities Committee and by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations associated with Joseph McCarthy: "Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" [Citation |url= |title="Are You Now or Have You Ever Been" - Back to the 1950s for Angel |publisher=BBC |accessdate=10-9-2007 ] The era, and paranoia surrounding it, is the setting for much of this episode.

*Psycho: Angel's opening line, "sixty eight rooms, sixty eight vacancies", is an allusion to Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 suspense / horror classic, "Psycho", where Norman Bates tells Marion Crane, "twelve rooms, twelve vacancies", to illustrate how the Bates Motel is no longer a popular stopping point. Also, Judy's back-story is very similar to Marion's: both are running from the law with stolen money and boyfriend troubles, and both are attempting to hide in a hotel / motel. As well, in the middle of the episode, Cordelia cites a newspaper clipping about Judy with the headline, "Fugitive Woman Believed Dead". Cordelia says that Judy was being tracked by federal authorities for stealing money, checked into the hotel, and then was never heard from again. All this is another allusion to Marion, whom that narrative would have fit perfectly as well, and who of course was knifed to death by "mother" Bates in an infamous shower scene.

*The Shining: Angel stays in Room 217 at the Hyperion Hotel. Room 217 is the haunted hotel room at the Overlook in Stephen King's "The Shining".

*Chinatown: The detective that arrives at the Hyperion Hotel is named C. Mulvihill, a nod to Roman Polanski's cameo appearance as a character named Claude Mulvihill in his own film noir classic, "Chinatown". The bandage on his nose is an extension of the same allusion.

*Rebel Without A Cause: The scene in which Judy mentions a show depicting the end of the universe was shot on location at the Griffith Observatory. Several scenes in the James Dean film "Rebel Without A Cause" were filmed at that same observatory, including a scene in which the characters attend a planetarium show about the world ending. [Citation |url=
title="Rebel Without a Cause" Production Timeline |first=Lawrence |last=Frascella |first2=Al |last2=Weisel |year=2005 |publisher=Touchstone |isbn=978-0-7432-6082-4
] Additionally, Angel is dressed exactly like James Deans character during this scene.


*"Hoop-Dee-Doo" - Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters


* German title: "Das Hotel Hyperion" ("The Hotel Hyperion")
* Italian title: "Il demone paranoico" ("The Paranoiac Demon")
* Spanish title: "¿Eres o has sido?" ("Are You or Have You Been?")

Reception and reviews

This episode is a fan favorite, regularly ranking as one of the top episodes of the series. [Citation |url= |title= FOUR YEARS, COUNTLESS MEMORIES:'s Top Ten Angel Episodes |accessdate=2007-10-10 ] Slayage calls this episode one of "Angel"'s best: "a character study, offering insight into Angel's past." [Citation |url= |title=OPINION: Best Of The Best, Part Two |accessdate=2007-10-10 |date=April 18, 2003 |last=Erenberg |first=Daniel ]

Writer Tim Minear says that, although he generally prefers the season-long story arcs to the movie-of-the-week, this episode "rang his inner gong." He explains that writing this episode was a way for him "to indulge in a delicious just-for-me treat." [Citation |url= |date=July 30, 2007 |title=Tim Minear - "Angel" Tv Series - Interview |accessdate=2007-09-22 ]


External links

* Soulful Spike Society's ["Are You Now or Have You Ever Been"]
* [ Television Without Pity recap]

ee also

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