Fred's not upstairs, though. Everyone stares about at the walls of Fred's room. Angel picks up the discarded remains of the cone and wrapper and notes that Fred was definitely there earlier. We see one bit of the wall inscribed, "In theory things are possible, but in reality things don't work." Wow, and I thought I was depressed by this show. Trish notes that the stuff on the walls is, in a word, crazy. Roger whispers to her, "We might have to call them in sooner than we thought." Who? The story editors? I wish you would. Meanwhile, Cordy asks Gunn and Wesley, "When was the last time Fred ever left the hotel by herself?" Gunn quietly replies, "A couple weeks after never." Roger tells Angel, "We want our daughter." Wesley looks at the Burkles and says, "So what's she running from?" It's unclear whether the Burkles heard that, but it sure seems like they would have, since Wesley made no effort to keep his voice down.
Hey, remember "I Got You Under My Skin"? That's the episode with the father who acted suspiciously from the moment we saw him on-screen. Who Angel suspected was evil. And who turned out to be a perfectly good dad. To no one's surprise. Remember that? I don't know why I happened to think of it just now. Lesson two: the best way to mislead the audience is to be as blatant as possible with suspicious behavior, ominous music, and red herrings. The audience has never seen this trick before, and will foolishly fall for it every time.
Fred hurries down a dark street with her backpack. It would be kind of funny if she got attacked by vampires or demons right now, since she is a helpless girl in the big city. It would also be mildly interesting. No fear of that, then.
Back in the office at the Hyperion, Cordy stares out at the Burkles and says, "There's just something off about them. I can't put my finger on what." It's that they're perfectly normal, loving parents. Guess what? We know. Have you ever had someone who was always telling the same allegedly funny story over and over again, no matter how many times you screamed that you'd heard it before? It's frustrating, and this episode reminds me of that feeling. Wesley guesses that Fred ran off after spotting her parents. Angel's suspicions are aroused. He's the kind of guy you could tell the same joke to twice a day, and he'd laugh at it every damn time. Gunn wonders about the letter Fred sent, and asks, "Can you picture Fred sneaking off to mail a letter?" Cordy snipes, "Fred can barely tie her shoes without Mr. Oh-You're-My- Big-Fat-Hero around." Angel sadly whispers, "You think I'm fat?" I know it's a stupid joke, but his delivery was genuinely funny. I wonder if he took a comedy class during the break. Maybe the writers should take one. Wesley wonders whether the Burkles are lying about the letter to make it seem like Fred wanted to contact them. Angel, not one to let somebody jump to a conclusion alone, leaps right in and adds, "If the letter's real, then she told them not to look for her. There's gotta be a reason for that." Cordy notes that Fred never mentions her family. Think these clowns ever asked Fred about her family? Me neither. Angel wonders where they should look for Fred. Gunn suggests hitting the local taco stands. Off their looks, he says he was kidding, "Kinda." Angel begs the others to think, since lord knows he can't. He asks, "What do we know about Fred?" Everyone ponders. Gunn brings up the tacos again. Angel sighs, and says he'll look for Fred in the sewers since she seemed so comfortable there. Wesley suggests checking the library Fred used to work for. Cordy wonders what they should do about the Burkles. She peeks out at them and says, "We can't just leave them here. What if Fred comes back?"