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Note: This article is about the episode. For the comic story, see Carpe Noctem (comic).

"Carpe Noctem" is the fourth episode of the third season of Angel and the forty-eighth episode in the series. Written by Scott Murphy and directed by James A. Contner, it was originally broadcast on October 15, 2001, on The WB network.


An old man casts a body-switching spell on Angel, and the old man enjoys the many pleasures of being eternally young, handsome and bloodthirsty in Los Angeles while a dying Angel tries to get his body back.[1]


While the Angel Investigations team hangs out in the lobby of the Hyperion, Angel gets excited about a Charlton Heston double feature at the Nuart Theater. No one wants to go but Fred, so she and Angel decide to go on what Fred thinks is a date.

Elsewhere, a musclebound man has just had sex with two women. Though he's worn them both out, he can't wait to go again. Suddenly, he says time has run out and recites a spell. A glowing force leaves his body, and his skin folds in on itself and collapses on the ground.

Cordelia tells Angel to straighten Fred out about their relationship and reminds Angel that he's an "eunuch," much to his annoyance. Angel attempts to speak with Fred, but stalls by showing the group an article about a young man found dead in an expensive hotel room, his insides appearing to have collapsed. Wesley recalls a similar case the previous week, so the team decides to investigate the matter. They find that several men over the last few months have died in similar ways, but the only connection between them is they were all members of the same health club. Angel and Cordelia leave to check out the gym, while Wesley and Gunn go after other leads.

At the Wolfram & Hart offices, Lilah and Gavin discuss scenarios for attacking Angel on various legal fronts. Lilah tells her assistant to look up the contact information for a graphics artist and forger named Carter Williams.

In Inertia Fitness Club, Angel manages to get a look at the files of the dead men after questioning a member of staff about their stance on steroid abuse. Cordelia gets distracted while interviewing the handsome men exercising there. Angel finds that the only connection between the three men is they all took the same Pilates class. While looking in on the class, Angel spots someone in the retirement home across the street using binoculars to spy on the room.

Angel goes to investigate Monserrat Retirement Community, where he meets an old man named Marcus Roscoe. He discovers that Marcus is using magic to switch bodies, but as he starts to perform a spell on Angel, Angel contemptuously assures him it will not work. However, Angel suddenly finds himself in the body of the old man, and Marcus now has Angel's body. He knocks Angel unconscious and leaves.

On the street outside, Marcus thinks Cordelia is trying to pick him up when she tells him to get in her car, but he soon realizes they are co-workers. When they get to the Hyperion, he assumes it's an actual hotel and that Cordelia has taken him there for sex. When Gunn arrives with breakfast, he assumes Gunn is a delivery boy and pays him. He devours a breakfast burrito, leaving everyone confused. When Cordelia says he needs to have a talk with Fred, he assumes Angel is gay, Fred is Wesley's name, and that he is Angel's lover. Angel starts to flirt with Fred after realizing that she is a woman, and when he asks her to get dressed up and go on a date, Fred is overjoyed.

After everyone leaves to continue the investigation, Marcus starts shredding the files on the health club deaths. Meanwhile, the real Angel uses the nurse's phone to call the Hyperion, but Marcus answers, gloats, and hangs up. Angel gets caught, and his phone privileges are taken away. He ends up staking out the entrance of the retirement home, hoping to sneak out when the guard has turned his back.

With the forger's help, Lilah foils Gavin's plans to threaten Angel with code violations by resolving matters with the housing authorities on Angel's behalf. She stops by the Hyperion to tell Angel about the favor she's done for him. Marcus misinterprets her as an errand-girl and attempts to seduce her. She hesitates at first, but they soon start kissing and ripping at one another's clothes. Fred, eager for their date, enters the room without knocking. When she finds them kissing on Wesley's desk, she panics and runs away. Angel vamps out and bites Lilah's neck while they share a passionate kiss. Enraged, Lilah pushes him away and threatens him with a cross. Marcus is surprised when he feels his fangs and vampire visage, but is unable to see himself in the mirror.

Angel has a heart attack in the retirement home, which is Marcus's fourth. This prevents Angel from making his escape.

Marcus then goes to a club to dance and pick up women. He bites another woman and has fun beating up three men with Angel's vampiric strength. After doing some research, he discovers that he is inhabiting the body of a vampire. Knowing this, he will not destroy his new body by overindulging as he had done with the others. He goes to the retirement home to kill Angel, who is in his old body, so he may live in his new body forever.

At the hotel, Cordelia finds Fred crying in the elevator. After hearing that Angel was kissing someone, the team worried that he had lost his soul and become evil. However, Wesley notices that Angel was apparently researching vampires, something he wouldn't have to do. Remembering that all the victim's acted out of character before their deaths, the team starts to put together what has happened to Angel. Cordelia remembers separating from Angel when he went to the retirement home, and they head there.

When they arrive, the team finds Marcus about to kill Angel. Marcus tries to convince them that Angel is the one casting the spell, but they know better and knock him unconscious. Wesley figures out the Algurian body-switching spell and switches their bodies back. Angel then smashes Marcus' Algurian conjuring orb, preventing him from ever using it again. Marcus has another heart attack as he yells about how pathetic they are, and the group leaves as the orderlies arrive.

In the hotel courtyard, Angel begins his postponed discussion with Fred. However, she stops him as Cordelia had previously talked to her about Angel's curse and his lack of romantic feelings for her. Fred talks about the beauty and suffering that come with love, but is interrupted as Cordelia rushes in to tell Angel the good news: Buffy is alive. Angel rushes inside, leaving Fred to wonder who Buffy is.


  • The episode features body switches, an ability previously featured in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes "This Year's Girl"/"Who Are You?".
  • This is the second episode in which Angel is called a "eunuch" and takes offense to it. The first was "Guise Will Be Guise."
  • In their investigation at the gym, Angel asks if there was any use of steroids, since the only remains of the victims are skin, and Cordelia asks if they have seen anyone "green and scaly." These are references to the episode "Go Fish," in which the Sunnydale High swim team inhaled steroids and became Gill Monsters, green and scaly creatures that leave their human skin behind.
  • The Angel Investigations calling cards featured in this episode are markedly different from the originals, featured in "Lonely Heart." While the earlier ones featured only the agency's phone number and the angel logo, the current ones sport the address of the Hyperion Hotel and a fax number, and comes in 4 versions: one with Wesley's name, one with Gunn's, one with Cordelia's (designated "Senior Associate"), and one without a name. The agency's phone number, however, is unchanged: (213) 555-0162.
  • Cordelia comes to the immediate conclusion that the woman Marcus was romancing (while in Angel's body) was a blonde (actually Lilah, a brunette), and upon realizing the woman's true hair color, believes something is the matter with Angel. This brings up her belief that Angel has a preference for young blonde women: Darla and Buffy ("Angel"). This trend is later continued by including Cordelia herself (after she gets blonde highlights) ("Tomorrow") and Nina ("Smile Time").
  • In this episode, Willow calls Angel to tell him that Buffy has been resurrected. Angel will call Buffy at the end of the Buffy episode "Flooded" to meet (off-screen) somewhere between Los Angeles and Sunnydale, and they will return to their respective homes in the following episodes, "Life Serial"/"Fredless."
  • Buffy and Angel's reunion after this episode and "Flooded" is the subject of the dubious-canon comic Reunion.



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • Woodrow Raglan, collapsed by Marcus Roscoe's spell.

Behind the scenes[]



  • "Carpe Noctem" had an audience of 3.2 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Pop culture references[]


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Výměna těl" (Body Swap)
  • Finnish: "Tartu hetkeen" (Seize the Day)
  • French: "Dans la peau d'Angel" (In Angel's Skin)
  • German: "Der Geist des Marcus" (The Spirit of Marcus)
  • Hungarian: "Élj az éjszakának" (Seize the Night)
  • Italian: "Carpe Noctem"
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Carpe Noctem"
  • Russian: "Не упускай момент" (Don't Miss the Moment)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Cambio de cuerpos" (Bodies Swap)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Carpe Noctem"
  • Turkish: "Geceyi Kaçırmamak" (Don't Miss the Night)


Behind the scenes[]


  1. "angel: Carpe Noctem." TheWB.com. Archived from the original on May 17, 2004.
  2. "Famous Recurring Newspaper." The Earl Hays Press. Retrieved on June 2, 2024.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Third Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.