"Hero" is episode 9 of season 1 in the television show Angel. Written by Tim Minear and Howard Gordon and directed by Tucker Gates, it was originally broadcast on November 30, 1999 on the WB television network. In "Hero", Angel joins Doyle’s crusade to save a group of part-human Lister demons from The Scourge, an army of supremacist stormtrooper demons who claim "pure" blood and consequently persecute those of "mixed" blood. While Doyle goes after a strayed Lister teen and Cordelia handles details of the escape plan, Angel infiltrates the enemy and discovers their secret weapon, a bomb-like device called the Beacon that combusts anyone with any taint of human blood. Events lead to a climactic showdown aboard a tramp freighter, where Doyle finally confesses his half-demon heritage—and his love for her—to Cordelia, and proves that he, like Angel, is a Champion in his own right.
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Tucker Gates|
|Written by||Tim Minear|
|Original air date||November 30, 1999|
Cordelia and Doyle bicker while working on a video advertising Angel Investigations. After talking to Angel, Doyle has a vision of a group in distress. At the scene of the vision, they find a group of Lister demons hiding from the Scourge, an army of pure-blood demons who hate all demons of mixed blood. Doyle tells Angel about a past encounter with the Scourge.
Angel and his team arrange for the Listers to escape on a cargo ship. The Scourge find the Listers' hiding place after they have left for the ship. Angel pretends to join the Scourge, and learns they have a device, the Beacon, which can kill half-breeds from a distance. The Scourge prepares to attack the cargo ship. Doyle and Cordelia flirt while waiting for Angel after Cordelia learns the truth of his heritage and accepts it.
Angel arrives, and the ship is preparing to leave when the Scourge appears. Angel attempts to sacrifice himself to destroy the Beacon as it begins to operate, but Doyle, himself a half-breed demon, knocks Angel out, kisses Cordelia, disables the Beacon, and dies from its effects. Angel and Cordelia later sadly watch the video Doyle had been making.
Special effects Supervisor Loni Peristere explains David Greenwalt described his vision of Doyle's death as "I want him to melt to death...I want his flesh to melt off and muscle and then bones." Peristere was concerned that that effect would be too graphic for television. He shot Doyle in his demon form, and Doyle with half-burned make-up then used mat elements to digitally "chew through his skin", including an element of acetone poured on Styrofoam.
Reception and reviews
This episode was rated as one of the series' top five episodes in a poll done by Angel Magazine. It also appeared eight on Slayage.com's list of the top 10 episodes of Angel.
- Bratton, Kristy, Special FX: CoA Interviews Loni Peristere, Special FX Supervisor, archived from the original on 2007-12-01
- Top Angel episodes, BBC, 18 January 2005, retrieved 2007-10-16
- Erenberg, Daniel, Best Of The Best, Part Two, Slayage.com, retrieved 2007-09-22