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"Awakening" is the tenth episode of the fourth season of Angel and the seventy-sixth episode in the series. Written by David Fury with Steven S. DeKnight and directed by James A. Contner, it was originally broadcast on January 29, 2003, on The WB network.


After Cordelia's revelation that Angelus and The Beast made a pact, the gang determines that they must turn Angel into Angelus to end the eternal darkness. For that transformation to take place, Angel must lose his soul by experiencing a moment of pure happiness.[1]


In the Hyperion Hotel, Fred tries to work out a way to bring the sun back to Los Angeles and notes that she could use Wesley's help in the research. Gunn isn't impressed, as Wesley has gone missing while Gwen has completely skipped town. Connor points out than the answers lie with Angel, but Cordelia reminds him that her visions showed that it was Angelus who made a pact with the Beast in the past. Gunn reminds everyone of Wesley's earlier declaration that they needed to bring Angelus back to get answers, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon, as the only way for Angel to lose his soul is to experience perfect happiness, and happiness of any kind is in short supply for any of them.

In his office, Angel has sang for Lorne in the hope that this could provide them with answers, but his reading has shown nothing. Angel is confused, as he remembers every second of his time as Angelus and yet has no recollection of the Beast. Lorne points out that it seems only Angelus has the answers, but Angel is against bringing him back and, even if he did approve of the idea, there's no way to do it.

Across town, Wesley breaks into the lair of a mystic named Wo-Pang, knowing that he has the power to extract souls.

In the hotel, Fred informs everyone that she can't find any way to bring the sun back. Angel tries to rally round his demoralized team telling them they may be losing ground, but they still need to protect the people in the city from the creatures that now have free reign. Connor snipes that this is exactly how Angel wanted it; he accuses his father of being in league with the Beast and that he is the reason he hates his life. Angel tells his son to get over his issues.

Wesley walks in with Wo-Pang. As Fred goes to make the mystic tea, Angel wants to know what Wesley thinks he is doing by bringing in a dark mystic. Wesley tells Angel that Wo-Pang has the power to not only remove souls, but to put them back. Angel isn't interested and tells Wesley to get rid of Wo-Pang, refusing to have his soul removed.

Outside the hotel, Cordelia approaches Angel and tells him she's on his side in this, having experienced the horror of Angelus both personally in Sunnydale as well as seeing his actions while as a higher power. Angel asks if she agrees with Connor in his accusation that he's working with the Beast. Cordelia admits that she thinks it's possible, and Angel tells her that he's already a danger to them. Cordelia assures him that he isn't as big a danger as Angelus, but notes that Angelus is smarter in a way and, as he's evil, will think like the Beast. Her words convince Angel that Angelus should be brought back, and he starts to make arrangements for a cage to be built in the hotel's basement to contain him.

After the cage is constructed, the ritual to remove Angel's soul is ready to begin. Lorne decides not to watch, and Angel understands and asks that Cordelia and Fred don't watch either. He then talks to Connor, assuring his son that, no matter what has happened or will happen, he loves him and Connor is in charge of protecting the group; if anything goes wrong with Angelus, he'll have to kill him. Connor agrees a little too quickly for Angel's liking. Wo-Pang brings down a glass jar, which will house Angel's soul. Cordelia acts against Angel's wishes and comes to watch the ritual. As Angel is strapped down, Wo-Pang enters the cage and asks for it to be double-locked for safety. He then begins the ritual.

In the middle of chanting, Wo-Pang suddenly pulls out a sword and attempts to kill Angel with it, while revealing he's actually working for the Beast, who wants Angel dead. Angel manages to get free of his restraints, and Gunn is able to enter the cage. The two briefly fight Wo-Pang, asking why the Beast suddenly wants Angel dead. Wo-Pang then commits suicide to prevent the gang from getting any information out of him, and, while investigating his body, the gang find it covered with symbols, confirming he is an acolyte of the Beast and why there's no information on the Beast in the books, since the acolytes walk around wearing it. Reading the symbols, Wesley finds that an order called the Bosh M'ad, whose members were dedicated to destroying the Beast when he awoke and created a a sword that could do the job. It's now a case of finding the sword. Cordelia has visions showing her it can be found under L.A.

Angel points out to Wesley that he wanted to bring Angelus back and brought in a shaman who tried to kill him, when all along there's a sword that can destroy the Beast. Wesley apologizes for his error in judgement, and Angel notes that it's the first time he's apologized for any of his recent mistakes, allowing the two to finally come to an understanding. Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, and Connor then set off to retrieve the sword.

As they head through the cave, Angel notes the convenience that the very sword that can destroy the Beast is located right under their feet, but Cordelia explains that her visions told her the sword can be retrieved from over a hundred points around the world. They come to a passage filled with bells hanging from the ceiling that trip stakes from the wall if rung. The gang carefully make their way through when, near the end, Wesley accidentally rings a bell, causing them to run for it.

At the end of the passage is a dead-end, but Cordelia notes that dead-ends normally aren't booby-trapped. Wes notices a pattern to the symbols on the wall and presses a panel that raises the wall a little. When he presses what he believes is the next symbol in the sequence, he gets a spike through his hand. Wesley then spots the correct pattern, and the door eventually raises enough to let everyone through.

Next, the gang decide to split up, and Angel sends Connor with Wesley. However, Connor wants to go with Cordelia, and Angel has to force him to go with Wes. Cordelia apologizes to Angel for her recent bad decisions when it comes to Connor, but before she can ask for forgiveness, she and Angel come to a set of stone pillars in a room filled with light from an unknown source, but no sword. Angel suddenly reaches into an invisible portal, and he realizes that the sword was hidden in a dimensional hub, allowing it to be accessed from any number of locations. He pulls out the sword, which causes the room to start to collapse around him and Cordelia.

The two barely make it out, and this brush with death causes Cordelia to break down and tell Angel that everything he did as Angelus doesn't matter and that she wants to be forgiven for sleeping with Connor, which Angel does and the two kiss. Connor sees this and storms out, with Angel closely following to explain. However Connor doesn't want to hear it and walks through a booby-trapped room which shoots darts at people. Angel narrowly saves Connor, but his son still angrily leaves.

Returning to the hotel, the gang claim that Connor is patrolling, and Fred tells Angel that the only way to kill the Beast is to pierce his brain with the sword. This will also bring back the sun, but the sudden release of energy will surely kill any human, and it isn't certain that Angel will survive it either. Angel tells the others that he needs to fight it alone. He adds that they've each made a difference and are there for each other when needed, and that's why the forces of evil will never win: every one of them is a champion. Cordelia argues that she isn't willing to lose him now when they're just starting to really work things out, but Angel tells her he needs to leave and find the Beast. This task gets a lot easier when the demon himself smashes his way through the hotel's front doors.

The gang run for weapons, but Angel orders them to leave. Cordelia isn't willing, and she has to be carried out by Gunn and Wesley. The initial fight against the Beast doesn't go well, and the sword is smashed in half before the Beast grabs Angel's throat. Having returned to help his father, Connor then hits the Beast from behind and corrects the Beast when he refers to Angel as Angelus. As Connor keeps the Beast distracted, Angel shoves what remains of the sword into the Beast's head. The Beast is destroyed, and the sun returns to Los Angeles. Connor admits that Angel is the one Cordelia truly loves, and the two finally establish a bond as father and son.

The gang emerges, and Angel tells them that the Beast is dead and they all had a hand in it. Everyone is overjoyed, and Wesley and Gunn settle their differences with a handshake, restoring their friendship.

Outside, the people of Los Angeles rejoice at the return of the sun while Angel watches from inside the hotel. Cordelia notes it must be hard for Angel to watch everyone so happy in the sun where he can't go, but Angel assures Cordy there's nowhere he'd rather be. The two kiss, and Angel initially hesitates, only for Cordelia to tell him not to worry. Angel succumbs and the two are soon making love, and Angel starts to feel perfect bliss causing him to gasp out, "Buffy, oh God, no!" as he begins to lose his soul.

Suddenly, the scene shifts back to Wo-Pang performing the ritual, with Angel restrained in the cage; everything that happened since he started the ritual was an illusion designed to make Angel feel a moment of perfect happiness. Wo-Pang says the vision has become reality. In the cage, Angelus wakes up and starts to laugh as the glass jar sitting nearby now contains his extracted soul.


  • Angel says that Wesley has only read about Angelus, that he "never had the pleasure of his company." In "Eternity," Rebecca Lowell drugged Angel and made him act like Angelus for a time, but it wasn't the real thing.
  • Cordelia explains the conditions of Angel's curse, first revealed in "Innocence," and the Kalderash people intentions when they performed the ritual, seen in "Becoming, Part One."
  • Angel and Cordelia mention when she witnessed the actions of his soulless self in Sunnydale ("Innocence" to "Becoming, Part Two") and from his past when she was in a higher dimension ("Tomorrow" to "The House Always Wins").
  • Angel tells Connor to "get over it" — the same thing Cordelia told himself in the previous episode, "Long Day's Journey."
  • A shaman dressed similarly to Wo-Pang was summoned to remove Angel's soul in "Enemies."
  • Cordelia has a vision of the sword and declares: "Pretty," mimicking Willow's reaction upon having a vision of the Illuminata in "Smashed."
  • The idea of a weapon specialized to pierce through the Beast's hide will turn out to be the way to kill him, with the Beast's bone dagger ("Salvage").
  • Angel's speech about his friends never letting the darkness win mirrors Buffy's speech in "Bring on the Night," in which she concludes: "There is only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil, and that's us."
  • The Beast's death, like in Angel's fantasy, will indeed bring back the sun to Los Angeles ("Salvage").
  • In his perfect-dream experience, Angel calls Buffy's name as he loses his soul, a callback to when he lost his soul in "Surprise."
  • This is the fourth time Angel loses his soul:
    • He first lost it when he was sired, an event portrayed in flashbacks in "Becoming, Part One" and "The Prodigal."
    • He lost it a second time in "Surprise" due to a condition of his curse.
    • Though he hadn't actually lost it, he behaved as though he did in "Eternity", while under the influence of a "happy pill."
  • Angel loses his soul in this episode, to be restored in "Orpheus."



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Wo-Pang, stabbed himself (only in a dream).
  • The Beast, stabbed with the Tooth of Light by Angel (only in a dream).

Behind the scenes[]



  • "Awakening" had an audience of 2.2 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Probuzení" (Awakening)
  • Finnish: "Herääminen" (Awakening)
  • French: "L'éveil" (The Awakening)
  • German: "Das Erwachen" (The Awakening)
  • Hungarian: "Felébredni" (Wake Up)
  • Italian: "Risveglio" (Awakening)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "O Despertar" (The Awakening)
  • Russian: "Пробуждение" (Awakening)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Despertando" (Waking Up)
  • Spanish (Spain): "El despertar" (The Awakening)
  • Turkish: "Uyanış" (Awakening)


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]


  1. "angel: Awakening." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on June 13, 2004.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.