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"Epiphany" is the sixteenth episode of the second season of Angel and the thirty-eighth episode in the series. Written by Tim Minear and directed by Thomas J. Wright, it was originally broadcast on February 27, 2001, on The WB network.


After an empty night of passion with Darla, Angel surprisingly wakes up with his soul still intact and has an epiphany. His moment of clarity brings him back to the land of the living and while he tries to reunite with his crew, Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn aren't ready to forgive him, even when their very lives are at stake.[1]


In his room at the Hyperion Hotel, Angel crawls to the balcony and falls to his knees in pain while Darla watches nearby, waiting for him to become evil. She thinks his struggle is the bitterness of his soul leaving him. She tells him that she had come there to kill him, but she felt him surrender to her so completely that there was no need. Angel tells her that she saved him, thanks her, and apologizes for not being able to save her.

Darla realizes that he still has his soul and can't accept that she failed to rid him of it, realizing that sex with her does not mean true happiness for Angel. Instead, Angel says that surrendering to Darla symbolized his perfect despair, which has reawakened the good in him and made him realize his recent mistakes. Darla's words to Angel remind him of Kate's desperate phone message. He quickly orders Darla to leave, threatening to kill her the next time they meet.

Angel rushes to Kate's apartment and runs in the door, only to find her unconscious from her drug and alcohol overdose. He manages to revive her, but she is ungrateful and orders him to leave.

Lindsey returns to his apartment to find a forlorn Darla slouched on the coach. He tells her that, because of her recent power play, Wolfram & Hart's security have orders to stake her on sight. He notices Darla has possession of the now-powerless band of Blacknill and demands to know where she got it. Darla tells him it was "payment." Upon realizing that Angel and Darla had sex, he demands all of the details from her.

Angel shows up at Caritas after-hours and wakes the Host for advice. Angel regrets his recent actions, with the Host telling him that sometimes one needs to hit rock bottom before they can see how far they've fallen. Angel admits he doesn't know how to go back to the way things were before. The Host tells Angel there's no going back; instead, he needs to use the moment of clarity he experienced to help him move on in his life and find a new place in the world. The Host also assures Angel that the lawyers in the wine cellar were going to die with or without his help, although the Powers That Be would likely have preferred it to happen without. Angel wonders what the Powers want him to do next, only to be reminded that he fired his connection to them. As Angel realizes he may never be able to win his friends' forgiveness, the Host informs him they will be lucky to survive the night.

Cordelia arrives at the Sharp residence and finds the family dead. She receives visions about a demon attacking her, only to have it actually occur moments later. Cordelia realizes that the demons have an eye on the back of their heads, and they want to destroy her and her friends in retaliation for killing the spawn they had implanted in Stephanie Sharp.

Angel arrives shortly before one of the Skilosh demons assaults Wesley, but he is unable to enter because Wesley has never invited him inside. Wesley hesitates until two Skilosh demons attack. He quickly invites Angel in, and the two are able to kill the demons.

The Skilosh demons are upset about losing two more of their kind. They impregnate Cordelia with a spawn and use her as bait to bring more hosts.

As Angel and Wesley travel to the agency's office hoping to find Cordelia (Angel having already checked her apartment), Wesley tells everything he knows about the demons, their reproduction through human hosts, and destroying the demon in Stephanie's head. Angel notes that the group kept the name Angel Investigations, although Wesley assures him it's going to be changed. The two enter the office, but there is no sign of Cordelia. Angel assumes she is out socializing or dating, but Wesley criticizes him for failing to notice Cordelia's changes in the months since she started experiencing visions. Unlike Angel, she could not ignore the visions, and has turned into a responsible young woman who has dedicated herself to helping others.

When Gunn arrives at the office, he is annoyed by Angel's presence. Wesley and Gunn's growing friendship is noticed by Angel, who appears to be jealous of it. After some detective work, the three head to the Sharps' to save Cordelia. When demons attack the car en route, Angel chooses to battle them on foot and leaves the car for Gunn and Wesley. Suddenly, Lindsey shows up in a pickup truck and repeatedly runs Angel down. Lindsey exits the vehicle and begins hitting Angel with a sledgehammer while demanding to know what happened with Darla. Angel starts hitting Lindsey back while saying he's sorry that Darla will never love him and that he didn't try hard enough to save Lindsey when he came for help. Angel finishes by smashing Lindsey's prosthetic hand with the sledgehammer and stealing his truck to rescue Cordelia and the others. Before leaving, Angel tells Lindsey that it could have been the other hand if not for his epiphany.

Gunn and Wesley try to sneak into the Sharp home but are caught. Angel crashes Lindsey's truck through the house, kills the demons, and rescues his friends. However, Cordelia is not ready to forgive him.

Lindsey returns home to find that Angel has returned his truck, but Darla has disappeared.

Angel talks with Kate about his existential epiphany: if there is no greater meaning, plan, or cosmic force and it is all ultimately futile, then the only thing that exists is each other; therefore, the smallest act of kindness is everything. Angel admits he's been fighting for redemption, a reward, or vengeance, but now he's choosing to help people simply because he doesn't believe they should suffer the way they do. Kate reveals that she's come to her own conclusion: there is a higher power watching out for them, which she knows because she never invited Angel into her home, yet he was still able to enter to save her. Kate is now at peace and has accepted that her future will not be with the police.

Angel returns to the Angel Investigations office and apologizes to his friends. They tell him they are not ready to go back and work for him. He says he doesn't want that and instead wants to work for them to regain their trust. Everyone's doubts are put on hold when Cordelia has a vision. Angel catches her before she falls to the floor. The reunited team sets out to help the helpless.


  • When Darla realizes that Angel's soul remains intact, she asks, "Was I... not good?" This echoes Buffy's dismay in "Innocence," when a soulless Angel gives her the brush-off the morning after.
  • Angel rejoins the Angel Investigations team, albeit as their employee rather than as their employer. This will continue until "Forgiving," when Wesley is kicked out of the agency. When he eventually returns after "Habeas Corpses," Angel remains in charge.
  • Angel and Darla's night of passion has far-reaching consequences, as she will become pregnant ("Heartthrob").
  • After the episode "Expecting," this is the second occasion Cordelia is impregnated by a demon.
  • Angel's speech to Kate about fighting evil is reminiscent to the one he gave Buffy in the episode "Gingerbread."
  • Angel catches Cordelia before she falls from her vision; without him, she fell unnoticed by Gunn and Wesley in "Blood Money."



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • All the Sharp family, killed by Skilosh demons.
  • One Skilosh demon, killed by Angel with an axe.
  • One Skilosh demon, shot by Wesley.
  • Skilosh demon leader, hit by Angel with Lindsey's truck.

Behind the scenes[]


  • "Epiphany" had an audience of 3.4 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]


  • When Lindsey heads to his truck to grab a stake, the tail lights from his truck are on, but they are off in the very next shot.
  • When Wesley goes to his closet to retrieve his shotgun, a member of the crew is visible standing just to the right of the closet.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Zjevení" (Revelation)
  • Finnish: "Valaistuminen" (Enlightenment)
  • French: "Retour à l'ordre" (Return to Order)
  • German: "Epiphanie" (Epiphany)
  • Hungarian: "Megvilágosodás" (Enlightenment)
  • Italian: "Il grande premio" (The Big Prize)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Revelação" (Revelation)
  • Russian: "Прозрение" (Epiphany)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Epifanía" (Epiphany)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Epifanía" (Epiphany)
  • Turkish: "Görünüş" (Appearance)


  1. "Episode Guide." Loony Archivist. Retrieved on August 31, 2022.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Angel's Second Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008.