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"Are You Now or Have You Ever Been" is the second episode of the second season of Angel and the twenty-fourth episode in the series. Written by Tim Minear and directed by David Semel, it was originally broadcast on October 3, 2000, on The WB network.


TAKE ME BACK — Angel directs Cordelia and Wesley to investigate a mysteriously abandoned hotel in Hollywood. As they piece together the building's dark history, the duo discovers that their boss's interest is that of a personal nature. In a flashback to 1952, Angel is not the atoning vampire of present day, but a recluse who is detached from the tortured humans around him, until one fateful day.[1]


Angel asks Wesley and Cordelia to look into the mysterious history of the Hyperion Hotel, which was built in the 1920s but is long since abandoned. Both wonder why Angel is interested in a seemingly random location, but he doesn't elaborate and simply tells them to start the research from the beginning up to the present day.

In 1952, when it was still a working and popular hotel, the concierge Roland Meeks gets Frank, the bellhop, to deliver a bill to room 217. Frank feels uneasy, as the occupant gives him the creeps, but eventually complies. Heading upstairs, he nervously approaches the room and informs the occupant of his mail before making a quick run for it. The door then opens to reveal who is inside: Angel.

Angel lives his life in the hotel quietly, never interacting with — or even acknowledging — anyone, despite their seedy activities. One day he leaves his room to get some ice and spots a salesman apparently talking to someone, failing to realize no one is actually there. He then notices a man going door to door as if he’s looking for someone. Back in his room, Angel finds an unfamiliar woman inside claiming to be a maid but Angel knows she isn't: there was no cleaning trolley outside the door, his sheets are still dirty, and she is white. She confesses that the man Angel spotted going door to door is her boyfriend and he's after her. Angel isn't interested and starts to shove her out, but eventually opens the door to tell the man he has no visitors. When the man persists, Angel slams the door into his face and throws him into the elevator. He then returns to his room, ignoring the grateful woman’s introduction as “Judy” and shuts the door in her face.

Fifty years later, Angel stands outside the door of his old hotel room. Wesley and Cordelia find that the hotel closed in 1979 when Roland took a shotgun and killed every guest. Since then, the hotel was declared a historical landmark. The owners of the building have been trying to unload it for the last ten years with no luck. Wesley and Cordelia also find the hotel has a sordid and murderous history, dating back to the hotel's construction. While building the hotel, one of its roofers jumped to his death, taking some of his co-workers down with him. The two begin to question the reason why Angel is persisting they investigate the hotel. Eventually they find a photograph with him in it dating back to 1952. Now knowing he has a personal connection to the place, the two wonder why he didn't disclose this information.

In his room in 1952, Angel broods while drinking blood. Next door, the salesman is playing a jaunty Polka record as he takes the handgun and commits suicide. Angel hears the gunshots and the man fall, but he barely acknowledges it. Later in the day Roland and Frank discuss what's happened, mentioning this is the third suicide in three months. As Frank discusses when to call the police, Roland hears a voice in his head whispering that if word gets out about the death, the hotel will be closed down. He then tells Frank that no one will be called and instead to store the body in the hotel's meat locker. When the hotel’s occupants discuss whether the suicide was actually a murder, another guest hears the same voice whispering in his head that someone killed the salesman.

Angel meets Judy outside an observatory and the two talk about how the suicide could possibility have been a murder. Judy thanks him for helping her before leaving.

In present time, Wesley and Cordelia find information on when Frank was arrested, convicted and executed for the murder of the salesman from 1952. They note that he was bellhop when Angel was there. The story is now becoming bigger and more complex.

In 1952, Angel returns to the hotel as the guests get more and more paranoid about the salesman's death. Calling him into her room, Judy insists the suicide was more than likely a murder, but Angel isn't convinced. She explains that she's nervous; if the salesman’s death is indeed a murder, the police will be around asking questions. Angel then reveals that the man she earlier claimed to be her boyfriend was not her lover, but actually a private investigator.

Judy confesses that he's probably working for her former employer, a bank in Kansas. It emerges that although she is white passing, her mother was black and she never knew her father. Her life was destroyed when the bank she was working for found out about her heritage. After finding out her true heritage, her fiancé broke off the engagement and abandoned her. Upset and angry, Judy stole a large amount of money from the bank, which she insists she has never touched. Angel insists she was fired because of her employer’s unfounded fear and that blood is blood - regardless of one’s race.

In the present, Cordelia finds a newspaper clipping about Judy, which reveals that after stealing the money from the bank, she checked into the Hyperion in 1952 and was never seen again. She surmises that Angel may know of her fate since the photo of him was dated that same year.

In 1952, Angel helps Judy hide the money in the ceiling of the hotel's basement, as she considers the idea of sending it back to the bank instead of going to jail. Wondering if the bank will forgive her, Judy asks Angel if he believes in forgiveness. During the conversation, Angel starts to hear whispering and realizes that something is in the hotel and he tells Judy to go back to her room.

Back in present time, Angel finds the money untouched in the hotel's basement but notices the whispering again. Back at Cordelia's apartment, Wesley realizes that a force was affecting the residents and staff. Getting an update while on the phone with Angel, Cordelia informs Wesley that it is a Thesulac demon, also known as a paranoia demon; it feeds on its victims inner insecurities and preys on them through whispers.

Angel thinks the demon claimed the land even before the Hyperion was built and he wanted Wesley and Cordelia to look into the hotel so they could track its current whereabouts. However, Angel has discovered that the Thesulac is still in the hotel and instead wants to raise and kill it. Angel asks Wesley to call Gunn to provide extra muscle, and when Wesley asks if Angel wants the Thesulac raising ritual researched, Angel tells him it's already been done.

In a bookshop in 1952, its owner Denver, is watching TV when Angel enters and inquires about raising and killing demons. Realizing that Angel is a vampire, Denver throws him a Holy Bible, which burns Angel's hands and brings forth his vampire visage. Denver tries to chase the vampire out while wielding a cross, but Angel overpowers him, demanding his help since he knows of Denver’s reputation for the unusual.

At the hotel, Frank tells Roland that he was forced to cut the body into pieces in order to fit it in the meat locker. Meanwhile, four guests are arguing, each convinced that the others are responsible for the salesman's murder. In her room, Judy hears whispers telling her she's going to prison.

Elsewhere, Angel and Denver make small talk, and Angel learns that Thesulac needs to be corporeal before it can be killed. To become corporeal, the demon either needs to feed on a large amount of paranoia, or be raised in a ritual. Although Denver warns that the raising is risky, Angel chooses to attempt the ritual anyway. He pressures Denver into giving him the supplies he needs for free, but he is warned that the Thesulac is incredibly difficult to kill. Angel picks up a large ax and asks Denver to bag up his items. Denver doesn't understand why a vampire would want to slay a demon to help humans, and Angel can't explain it himself.

At the Hyperion, the guests are now openly accusing each other of murder, with even Roland and Frank taking part despite knowing the truth. The private investigator, C. Mulvihill, approaches the people and asks about Judy, showing them her picture. When Angel arrives back, he finds an empty lobby.

In the present, Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn arrive and the group prepare to start raising Thesulac while Wesley and Gunn engage in some petty bickering. Angel assumes it's the Thesulac, only for Cordelia to tell him they were acting like that before arriving. Wesley begins to summon the demon.

In 1952, Angel arrives on his hotel room floor to find the guests assaulting Judy, now fully convinced she's a murderer after discovering that she used a fake name when checking in. He attempts to help her, but she suddenly breaks free of the guests' grips and accuses him of being the murderer. She calls him a monster, mentioning that he has blood in his room. After they find Angel’s axe, the guests turn on him. Mulvihill knocks Angel down, and he helplessly looks at Judy as he receives a beating from the mob of guests. Intending to lynch him, they take Angel to the lobby and tie a noose around his neck. As the crowd angrily cheers, he is thrown over the railing until he is seemingly dead from the hanging,

As soon as he is alone, Angel opens his eyes and removes himself from the rope. Behind him, the Thesulac becomes corporeal, as he has just fed on a large amount of paranoia. He jokes that Angel stuck his neck out for a bunch of humans and asks him where it got him. He then tells Angel that despite her turning on him, he really had made a friend in Judy. He had also helped her to restore her faith in humanity, thus Thesulac can now feed on her guilt for a lifetime. Although the Thesulac mentions the rest of the guests could also use his help, Angel isn't interested and leaves the demon to feed on them.

In the present, the ritual is successful and Thesulac thanks Angel for bringing him more people to feed on — especially Wesley, who according to him, is the most paranoid and insecure of the group. Angel tells the demon he had his last meal long ago, but Thesulac's comments about paranoia aging like fine wine makes Angel realize he's still feeding. The gang then engage in battle with Thesulac and Angel destroys the demon by sticking one of his tentacles into the fuse box. As Wesley wonders aloud what Thesulac meant by his comments, Angel heads upstairs.

Going into room 214, Angel finds a now elderly Judy sitting in a chair, reading. Thesulac has been feeding on her for the past fifty years, while keeping her in the hotel. She is surprised to see Angel, and he assures her that everything is okay. She repeatedly apologizes for killing him as he tries to assure her that she didn't. She gets up, finally able to leave, but asks to lie down for a little while before going out. As she lies down, Judy asks Angel to forgive her for "killing him," which he does. She promises to go out when she's rested, but instead passes away in Angel's arms.

Downstairs, Wesley is still worrying about Thesulac's comments when Angel enters the room. As Cordelia notes how happy she is to leave the hotel, Angel announces Angel Investigations is moving in. Everyone is shocked and Wesley reminds Angel that the hotel played host to not only a demon but some of the worst examples of humanity. Angel tells Wesley: "Not anymore."


  • The Angel Investigations team discover the history of the Hyperion Hotel, which Angel just recently found abandoned in "Judgment."
  • Denver will make a reappearance in "Reprise" as an old man in the present.
  • The Angel Investigations team move their offices to the hotel; their first office was exploded in "To Shanshu in L.A."
  • The Hyperion Hotel will be the AI headquarters until "Home," when the team move to the Wolfram & Hart Los Angeles branch.



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • Unidentified salesman, suicide by gunshot to the head (in flashbacks).
  • Frank Gilnitz, hung after being accused for murder (only mentioned).
  • Thesulac demon, electrocuted by Angel.
  • Judy Kovacs, died of natural causes.

Behind the scenes[]


  • The episode's title is based on the questions posed during the trials held by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations associated with Joseph McCarthy, the most famous question being: "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?" Footage from one of these hearings features in the episode, and themes now commonly associated with McCarthyism and the era (such as paranoia and fear of "the other") are present in this episode.
  • When fans point out the flashback scene in "Becoming, Part One" in which Angel is living on the streets of New York City, Tim Minear deflects the accusation of employing retroactive continuity 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 since. [...] In the 1950s, that was the beginning of his descent into the streets."[2]
  • This episode introduces the Hyperion Hotel, which will be Angel's main set until the end of season 4. Production designer Stuart Blatt explains that, after blowing up Angel's cramped office in the season 1 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 the comedy thriller Barton Fink.[3] 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." The Los Altos was home to many Hollywood celebrities — including Bette Davis, Mae West, and William Randolph Hearst — before the Great Depression, similar to the fictional history of the Hyperion featured in this episode.
  • The nighttime scenes between Angel and Judy were filmed on location at the Griffith Park Observatory, which overlooks Los Angeles.
  • The close-up of the article about Judy shows the first paragraph is about Judy, while the rest of the article contains generic sentences not specific to any event and appear to repeat.
  • The hotel bellhop's surname is Gilnitz, which was often used for incidental or unseen characters on The X-Files, usually with the first name John; it became a running joke on that show. The name was an amalgam of the names of longtime X-Files writers John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, and Frank Spotnitz. Tim Minear was a writer and story editor for The X-Files.
  • Minear says that he often gets asked about what Angel did with the stolen money that he recovered from its hiding place fifty years after stashing it in the hotel. Minear says that, as far as he is concerned, Angel did not keep the money or use it to buy the hotel; instead, Angel sent it back to the bank in Salina, Kansas, from which Judy stole it in 1952.[citation needed]
  • Angel's room number at the Hyperion was 217, the same room number used in Stephen Kings The Shining. People had a feeling that the room was bad, similar to what the bellboy feels about room 217 in the Hyperion Hotel.
  • There are several references to the film Rebel Without a Cause, including Angel's red jacket outfit, a leading lady named Judy, and the conversation between Angel and Judy about the "End of the World" show outside the planetarium.
  • The character of Judy has a connection with the leading lady in Vertigo. Her name is also Judy, and she used to live in Salina, Kansas.
  • A reference to Psycho: Angel says "68 rooms, 68 vacancies". Later we meet Judy, a young woman who stole a lot of money from a bank and regrets it. However, she never leaves the hotel, that is host to evil, alive.
  • The PI in this episode is named C. Mulvihill, a reference to the corrupt PI and former cop Claude Mulvihill from the 1974 film Chinatown. After being hit by Angel, he wears a bandage on his nose similar to that worn in the film.


  • "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been" had an audience of 3.1 million households upon its original airing.[4]

Pop culture references[]

  • A man in the hotel lobby mentions Lana Turner, a well-known actress and model in the 1950s.
  • Denver makes a reference to a "zany redhead" character (Lucy Ricardo) played by Lucille Ball.


  • When the stolen money is shown in Judy's bag, it is in the new $20 bills that weren't issued until 1996.
  • Angel's position in the old photograph is different in the close-up shot of the same photograph.
  • In the brief flash edit that shows the salesman after his suicide, a single frame shows two crew members.
  • In a 1952 flashback, the bookstore window says the shop was established in 1973.
  • When Angel electrocutes the Thesulac demo, a crew member can be seen in the wide angle shots, standing behind the desk.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Strašidelný hotel" (Haunted Hotel)
  • Finnish: "Oletteko nyt tai oletteko koskaan ollut" (Are You Now or Have You Ever Been)
  • French: "L'hôtel du mal" (The Hotel of Evil)
  • German: "Das Hotel Hyperion" (The Hotel Hyperion)
  • Hungarian: "Tudsz róla, jártál ott?" (Do You Know About It, Have You Been There?)
  • Italian: "Il demone paranoico" (The Paranoid Demon)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Agora ou Sempre" (Now or Always)
  • Russian: "Кто ты есть, и кем ты был" (Who Are You, and Who Have You Been)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Sombras del pasado" (Shadows of the Past)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Sombras del pasado" (Shadows of the Past)
  • Turkish: "Şu An Burada Mısın, Ya Da Hiç Burada Bulundun Mu" (Are You Here Now or Have You Ever Been Here)



Behind the scenes[]


  1. "Season Two." City of Angel. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.
  2. Edward Gross, "Writer-producer Tim Minear on directing 'Darla.'" TimMinear.net 5.0, November 13, 2000. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016.
  3. "Hotel living." BBC. Retrieved on October 31, 2022.
  4. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Second Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008.