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The fifth season of Angel originally aired on The WB from October 1, 2003 to May 19, 2004. It's the final season of Angel television show and the last Buffyverse television season.

Synopsis

The Angel Investigations team is stunned when the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart give them control of the L.A. office. The gang quickly moves in, and although everyone is delighted at the amazing resources they now have at their command, they can't stop wondering what the catch is. But the biggest mystery of all revolves around a small package Angel receives containing an amulet and a handful of dust — which coalesces into a very-much-alive Spike.

Summary

The gang begins to get used to their new life at Wolfram & Hart — and the presence of Eve, their conduit to the Senior Partners. Gunn undergoes a special cognitive procedure that transforms him into a brilliant lawyer. The group receives a package with the amulet previously given to Angel and used by Spike to destroy the Hellmouth in Sunnydale in an act of sacrifice (in the Buffy series finale). Suddenly, Spike appears out of the amulet itself, although in non-corporeal form.

Spike soon finds that spectral forces threaten to take him to hell, but he struggles his way out. Though he bonds with Fred as she attempts to help him return to "normal", he is skeptical that they can do good at an evil law firm, so he goes off to work on his own once he is mysteriously re-corporealized by an anonymous package. Spike learns of the Shanshu Prophecy and wonders if he, in fact, is the one (having regained his human soul at the end of Season 6 of Buffy). He and Angel battle for a Cup of Perpetual Torment (which proves a fake, filled with Mountain Dew), and for the first time, Spike has the upper hand. Soon thereafter, Spike is approached by a returning Lindsey, who claims to be Doyle, and gets Spike to help the helpless the way Angel once did. But Cordelia returns and helps Angel find and stop Lindsey, who is attempting to release a giant monster to devour his old nemesis Angel and destroy the Los Angeles Wolfram & Hart branch. It transpires that Lindsey was responsible for bringing Spike back, both times, all a part of his plan to get revenge on both the Senior Partners and Angel, with the assistance of Eve. The gang reveal Lindsey's location to the Senior Partners, and he is promptly captured. Cordelia and Angel finally share a kiss but are interrupted by a phone call, which informs Angel that Cordelia has just died without ever waking from her coma. When he turns around Cordelia is gone.

After helping Angel regain his form after being transformed into a puppet, Fred finally declares her affections to a thrilled Wesley. But Fred then receives a mysterious sarcophagus in the mail, and when she touches it, it infects her with a virus that hollows her out and gives birth to the ancient Illyria. It's revealed that Gunn has unwittingly caused this chain of events to occur in return for a renewed cognitive upgrade. Illyria, who has super-strength and can slow down her perception of time, uses Fred's body to try to raise her army and destroy Earth but discovers that her army has long ago returned to dust. Wesley is devastated by Fred's death and agrees to help Illyria adjust to her new world — mostly because she reminds him of Fred.

After realizing that they lack the information needed to fight the Senior Partners, Angel, Spike, and Gunn seek out Lindsey, who is being held captive in a Wolfram & Hart holding dimension designed as a hellish suburb. They free him, but only after Gunn, guilt-ridden over the indirect role he played in Fred's death, agrees to stay behind in his place. Angel returns to W&H just as the well-dressed and incredibly strong Marcus Hamilton corners Eve. Hamilton forces her to sign an agreement forfeiting all her duties and privileges as the Partners' liaison to Angel — including her immortality.

Wesley is approached by a middle-aged couple seeking help for their teenaged son — who seems to exhibit supernatural strength. Wesley refers them to Angel who is shocked to see the "parents" of his son, Connor. He eventually discovers that the sorcerer Cyvus Vail, who built Connor's new memories, wishes for a common enemy of theirs, Sahjhan, to be killed. And according to an ancient prophecy, only Connor can do the deed. Angel agrees to let Connor fight Sahjhan, but the battle is not going well when it is nearly interrupted by Wesley. Mistakenly believing that Angel traded Fred's life for Connor's, he smashes a magical jar which releases lost memories. Connor suddenly decapitates Sahjhan in one swift move, and Wesley is guilt-stricken by his memories of betraying Angel. Connor thanks Angel for his help, and then leaves — he is still needed to protect his family. He appears to have both his real and phony memories intact and is a well-adjusted person now. Illyria, meanwhile, is becoming more and more unstable, as her human body struggles to contain her demonic essence. She frees Gunn from his prison and is about to wipe out Angel and his team for their perceived attempts to kill her when Wesley "cures" her by siphoning off most of her energy. Despite his misgivings, Angel agrees to allow the severely weakened Illyria to remain at W&H.

As the weeks go by, Angel makes a number of uncharacteristic decisions. These include sleeping with werewolf/art student Nina, playing sports with demons, and allowing a human baby to fall into the hands of the demonic Fell Brethren, who plan to sacrifice it. His team is becoming more suspicious by the day, especially after Drogyn, Keeper of The Well, arrives and reveals that Angel tried to have him killed. It seems that Angel's thirst for power has overwhelmed his conscience, and that he had Fred killed in order to be accepted by the Circle of the Black Thorn, a secret society responsible for engineering the Apocalypse. After murdering the captured Drogyn, Angel becomes a member, and is subsequently attacked by Wesley, Spike, Gunn and Lorne. Angel hurriedly explains that the entire deal is a ploy — Cordelia's kiss had given him a vision alerting him to the Circle's existence, and he had decided to use Fred's seemingly meaningless death as a means to gain the Black Thorn's trust. He asks the crew for their help in destroying the Circle, and despite knowing that it will bring the full wrath of the Senior Partners down upon them, they agree.

After meeting with the Circle one last time and signing away his interest in the Shanshu Prophecy, and thus any hope of regaining his humanity, Angel hands out the assignments and tells his people to spend the day as it were their last: Lorne sings, Spike performs at a poetry slam, Gunn does charity work in his old neighborhood, Lindsey spends it with Eve, Wesley tends to the wounded Illyria, and Angel meets with Connor. That night, the team launches its attack on the Circle, dividing up their targets. Illyria wipes out four members after dinner, and Spike destroys the Fell Brethren and rescues their human sacrifice. Lorne, after watching Lindsey cut down an entire demon clan, shoots him in cold blood because he can never be trusted. Having performed this one last job at Angel's behest, Lorne abandons the good fight and leaves for parts unknown. Gunn walks into the campaign headquarters of an evil Senator, killing her and her coterie of vampire staffers. Wesley is unable to defeat his assigned target, the powerful warlock Cyvus Vail, and is fatally stabbed, although he is able to knock Vail unconscious for a short while. Illyria, concerned for his safety, arrives and grieves for Wesley, taking the form of the woman he loved to ease his final moments. Afterward, Vail wakes up and taunts "Fred"; Illyria shatters his skull with one punch.

Angel poisons Archduke Sebassis, the most feared member of the Circle, then encounters Hamilton, who learned of Angel's betrayal from the vampire Harmony (ostensibly on Angel's side). The two fight, with Hamilton easily holding the upper hand until Connor joins the battle. After Hamilton inadvertently reveals that the Senior Partners' power flows in his veins, Angel bites him and uses that power to kill him. The building begins to collapse as the Senior Partners unleash their wrath, so he orders both Connor and the despondent Eve to go home. Angel arrives at the rendezvous point, the alley behind the Hyperion Hotel, the gang's old base of operations before moving to Wolfram & Hart, to find Spike waiting. Illyria arrives with news of Wesley's death, and Gunn walks up badly bleeding from a stomach wound. The survivors wait as the Senior Partners' army of warriors, giants, and a dragon approaches. The series ends with Angel and his crew rushing into battle, saying, "Let's go to work."

  • The main antagonists of this season were Lindsey McDonald, Marcus Hamilton, and the Circle of the Black Thorn.

Cast

Main

Recurring

Episodes

No. Image Title Air date
01 Conviction Wesley Gunn Angel Fred Lorne "Conviction" October 1, 2003
Writer: Joss Whedon Director: Joss Whedon
Taking over the Los Angeles offices of the supernatural law firm Wolfram and Hart proves to be more challenging than expected for Angel and the gang, especially when their first case involves representing an evil client who threatens to destroy the city.
02 S5stills005 "Just Rewards" October 8, 2003
Writers: David Fury, Ben Edlund Director: James A. Contner
Spike mysteriously materializes in Angel's office through the magic of an amulet, but no one, including Spike himself, understands the reason he has returned or why he is now a ghost. Meanwhile, Angel jeopardizes his own life when he tries to stop one of his evil clients from using human bodies as vessels for demon spirits.
03 Unleashed Angel Nina "Unleashed" October 15, 2003
Writer: Sarah Fain, Elizabeth Craft Director: Marita Grabiak
Angel tries to protect a woman, who's been bitten and transformed into a werewolf, from evil restaurateurs who want to turn her into an exotic dish.
04 S5stills024 "Hell Bound" October 22, 2003
Writer: Steven S. DeKnight Director: Steven S. DeKnight
Spike struggles to maintain his weak grip on reality as spectral forces threaten to send him to hell. He encounters ghostly apparitions, including an eighteenth-century serial-killer doctor. Meanwhile, Fred continues her quest to find a way of restoring Spike to his corporeal self.
05 Life of the Party Lorne Wesley "Life of the Party" October 29, 2003
Writer: Ben Edlund Director: Bill L. Norton
The consummate entertainer Lorne works around the clock to throw the ultimate Halloween party at Wolfram & Hart. When their guests begin to behave strangely and out of character, Angel and the gang investigate to find out what's causing the mysterious happenings.
06 TCToNC Tezcatcatl Número Cinco "The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco" November 5, 2003
Writer: Jeffrey Bell Director: Jeffrey Bell
Angel learns that he must track down a retired Mexican wrestler to help him defeat Tezcatcatl, an ancient Aztec warrior who emerges every 50 years to take the heart of a hero to sustain his own existence. Angel is surprised to find the wrestler is employed at his company, Wolfram & Hart, and that he has a personal score to settle with Tezcatcatl.
07 Lineage Roger Fred Angel "Lineage" November 12, 2003
Writer: Drew Goddard Director: Jefferson Kibbee
The offices of Wolfram & Hart are under attack by cyborg assassins who are seeking a magical device that will give them control over Angel. Meanwhile, Wesley is surprised by the unannounced arrival of his estranged father who has come to evaluate Wesley for possible reacceptance to the Watcher's Council.
08 Destiny Spike Angel "Destiny" November 19, 2003
Writers: David Fury, Steven S. DeKnight Director: Skip Schoolnik
When another mysterious package arrives at Wolfram & Hart that recorporealizes Spike, the gang learns that the existence of two living ensouled vampire heroes has created chaos in the world. After Eve tells them about a prophecy that states that the only way to restore order is to find the Cup of Perpetual Torment that bestows human life, Angel and Spike battle it out for the ultimate prize. A series of flashbacks show the history of Angel and Spike and their relationship with Drusilla.
09 S5stills074 "Harm's Way" January 14, 2004
Writer: Sarah Fain, Elizabeth Craft Director: Vern Gillum
Angel arranges an important truce meeting between two warring demon tribes through a Demon Rights Activist. Already feeling unappreciated at work, Harmony's life in the office gets worse when she finds the Demon Rights Activist dead in her bed one morning after a night of drinking. Knowing that Angel will kill her for causing the summit negotiations to break down, Harmony is desperate to find out who framed her for the murder.
10 Soul Purpose Lorne Gunn Wesley Fred Angel "Soul Purpose" January 21, 2004
Writers: Brent Fletcher Director: David Boreanaz
A mysterious stranger approaches Spike claiming responsibility for recorporealizing him in a mission to guide Spike in supplanting Angel as the new vampire champion. Meanwhile, Angel is racked by intense fever dreams and hallucinations of his worst fears intensifying his worries that he will lose authority to Spike.
11 Damage Dana 06 "Damage" January 28, 2004
Writers: Steven S. DeKnight, Drew Goddard Director: Jefferson Kibbee
When an emotionally unstable woman, Dana, escapes from a psychiatric ward, Angel learns that she was tortured as a child and is now searching for her tormentor. Andrew, a watcher-in-training, arrives from Sunnydale with surprising information about Buffy and to inform the group that Dana is also a vampire slayer. Meanwhile, Spike believes that if he can save Dana, he will prove that he is destined to be the vampire champion.
12 You're Welcome Cordelia Angel 02 "You're Welcome" February 4, 2004
Writer: David Fury Director: David Fury
Cordelia mysteriously awakens from her coma and is shocked and unhappy to discover that Angel and the group are no longer fighting Wolfram & Hart, they're running it. When she realizes that Angel has lost his conviction to be a hero, she gives him the information and support he needs to get back on track. Meanwhile, while Angel has security keeping an eye on Eve, her partner Lindsay prepares to bring about Angel's demise.
13 Why We Fight Gunn Fred Sam Wesley "Why We Fight" February 11, 2004
Writer: Drew Goddard, Steven S. DeKnight Director: Terrence O'Hara
Lawson, a mysterious man from Angel's past, arrives at Wolfram & Hart and takes the gang hostage. Through flashbacks to World War II, it is revealed that Angel worked with the U.S. Navy to recover a captured German submarine with American sailors on board. The ship also has a secret cargo, a dangerous trio of vampires, including Spike, who were kidnapped by the Germans and forced to help the Nazis. When the sub comes under attack, Angel saves Lawson's life by turning him into a vampire. Now, sixty years later, Lawson has arrived at Wolfram & Hart seeking revenge.
14 Smile Time Angel 04 "Smile Time" February 18, 2004
Writer: Ben Edlund Director: Ben Edlund
When a popular children's show begins to steal the life forces of children by hypnotizing them, Angel goes directly to the studio to uncover the evil doings. Upon entering the building, Angel triggers a spell that transforms him into a puppet. In a race against time, puppet-Angel and company must find a way to reverse the spell, save the lives of hundreds of children and return Angel to his normal vampire state. Meanwhile, Nina, the werewolf Angel befriended, returns to declare her romantic intentions, but puppet-Angel is too embarrassed to reciprocate.
14 A Hole in the World Wesley Fred 02 "A Hole in the World" February 25, 2004
Writer: Joss Whedon Director: Joss Whedon
When Fred opens up an ancient sarcophagus that was anonymously sent to her, she is infected by a mysterious parasitic demon called Illyria. Angel and Spike learn that Illyria is an ancient demon who existed before recorded time, and they must race to return her to an ancient demon burial ground before she kills Fred and thousands of other innocent victims.
15 AS5 Illyria 04 "Shells" March 3, 2004
Writer: Steven S. DeKnight Director: Steven S. DeKnight
Angel and Spike return from England defeated, knowing that the ancient demon Illyria has completely taken over Fred's body and soul. Upon learning that Knox and Gunn have each contributed to her demise, Wesley is bent on revenge and Angel tries everything to restore Fred, including calling on an old friend from Sunnydale. Meanwhile, Illyria tries to locate an ancient temple where she believes she will find an army ready to help her destroy mankind.
17 S5stills154 "Underneath" April 14, 2004
Writers: Sarah Fain, Elizabeth Craft Director: Skip Schoolnik
Hoping that Lindsay has information on the Senior Partners' ultimate plans, Angel, Spike and Gunn track him down in a bizarre and terrifying suburban hell. Meanwhile, a nearly invincible stranger sent by the Senior Partners, infiltrates Wolfram & Hart looking for Eve.
18 Origin Angel Vail 02 "Origin" April 21, 2004
Writer: Drew Goddard Director: Terrence O'Hara
Angel resists the appeal of parents seeking help from Wolfram & Hart regarding their son's supernatural abilities after he discovers that the boy is his son, Connor. Despite his reservations, Angel is forced to bring Connor into conflict with an old adversary to prevent his son's memories from being restored. Meanwhile Wesley uncovers a mysterious deal struck by Wolfram & Hart that threatens the secret Angel desperately wants to protect.
19 Time Bomb Illyria 03 "Time Bomb" April 28, 2004
Writer: Ben Edlund Director: Vern Gillum
When Illyria's powers become unstable and cause her to erratically jump through time, she learns that the gang intends to kill her. Upon returning to the present, Illyria plans to murder everyone before they're able to attack her. To save everyone's lives, Angel goes into the past with Illyria to alter the course of events.
20 520darladru "The Girl in Question" May 5, 2004
Writers: Drew Goddard, Steven S. DeKnight Director: David Greenwalt
Angel and Spike travel to Rome with plans to rescue Buffy from their old nemesis The Immortal. While in Italy, they also attempt to retrieve the head of a fallen demon leader to prevent a perilous power struggle between several warring demon clans.
21 Power Play Gunn Angel "Power Play" May 12, 2004
Writer: David Fury Director: James A. Contner
The gang starts to have doubts about Angel's loyalties when he appears to have become very close with the Circle of the Black Thorn, an evil secret demon society. When Drogyn, the guardian of the deep well, makes a startling revelation, the gangs' fears that Angel has become evil seem to be validated.
22 22Not Fade Away "Not Fade Away" May 19, 2004
Writers: Jeffrey Bell, Joss Whedon Director: Jeffrey Bell
Angel and company spend the day as if it were their last as they prepare to bring down the evil Circle of the Black Thorn. Putting their lives on the line, Spike confronts a demon cult, Lorne faces off with Lindsay, Gunn takes on an evil senator and Angel battles Hamilton, the henchman of the Senior Partners.

Behind the scenes

  • This is the first and only season in which Charisma Carpenter appears and is not billed as a series regular.
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