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"Happy Anniversary" is the thirteenth episode of the second season of Angel and the thirty-fifth episode in the series. Written by David Greenwalt and directed by Bill L. Norton, it was originally broadcast on February 6, 2001, on The WB network.


CAN'T STOP THE WORLD — Angel and The Host must join forces to stop a brilliant, yet twisted physicist who is determined to stop time in order to keep his girlfriend from breaking up with him.[1]


Cleaning up their new office, Wesley and Cordelia talk about their future as investigators without Angel and most likely without enough clients to keep their business going. The two decide to keep the name Angel Investigations as Gunn walks in fresh from posting flyers. They find out the phone line is still disconnected, which is quickly followed with the power going out.

At the Hyperion Hotel, Angel awakes to the sounds of the Host singing down in the lobby. He tells Angel about a "normal-looking" guy who came to sing at Caritas whose aura literally knocked him out. He envisioned the world would be ending the following night and the man has something to do with it. The man left the bar without speaking to the Host and he has no idea who he is, where he is, or how he'll destroy the world. The Host came to Angel for help because Angel is a champion. Angel initially refuses to help but eventually goes along.

The man singing at the bar, a physicist named Gene Rainey, is working on a device to stop time. His girlfriend, Denise, visits him, and they talk of their plans for their first anniversary.

With no leads, Angel and the Host check out karaoke bars across Los Angeles and eventually find one that Gene frequently visits. They learn he's a student at UCLA.

After an unsuccessful attempt to test his formula, Gene leaves his work area. Two Lubber demons emerge from the shadows to alter the formula Gene has been working on.

Wesley, Gunn, and Cordelia mope about their job troubles. Virginia comes by with food, champagne, and a case they can take on to make a lot of money: a demon is threatening a wealthy family, and has slain their eldest son.

Gene successfully tests his new theory and equipment. In the meantime, Angel and the Host attempt to figure out who the man is by looking through yearbooks in the campus library.

Denise confesses to her friend that she has to break up with Gene because things aren't working out. However, as its their anniversary that night, she still plans to go through with the romantic evening, which includes having sex with Gene. He overhears her and returns to the lab, dejected.

While getting directions to Gene and the physics lab, Angel is attacked by the Lubber demons. The Host identifies them as a species of demon that are awaiting a Golden Child who will end the world. Angel reasons that the promised one is Gene, and that the demons are protecting him.

When Angel arrives at the physics lab, he finds that both Gene and his equipment are gone. Meanwhile, Gene sets for a romantic dinner in his apartment. As they race after him, the Host asks Angel if a part of him wouldn't mind if the world ended that night. The Host tries to persuade Angel to discuss his recent descent into darkness and how he's switched from assisting the innocent to punishing the guilty, but Angel doesn't reply. After some prodding, Angel eventually vents his feelings about his supposed redemption, Wolfram & Hart's attempts to turn him to the dark side, Darla's resurrection then siring, and the fact that people expect him to lighten up despite everything. Darla's opportunity for redemption was taken, and he swears to kill her and destroy Wolfram & Hart. Since his friends are only human and won't be able to handle it, he believes that firing them was the right move.

Meanwhile, Gunn kills the demon that he and the others were hired to protect a rich family from. With the family reunited, Wesley uses deductive reasoning to reveal the real truth behind the murder: one of them hired the demon to kill the eldest son and heir and thereby gain control of the family money.

Angel and the Host fight several Lubber demons trying to prevent them from stopping Gene. Gene proceeds to freeze Denise and himself while they have sex so their love will "last forever"; however, due to the modified calculations, the bubble encasing them expands and threatens to freeze the whole world. Angel defeats the remaining demons in time to turn off the machine and undo the whole process. Denise breaks up with Gene.

Later, Gene admits to Angel and the Host that he was merely afraid of losing his love and didn't realize the full impact of his actions. Angel and the Host persuade Gene that, although things don't always work out, that's a part of life and he needs to move on. As Gene goes to the kitchen to get some beer, the Host commends Angel for connecting with a human for the first time in a long while. Angel says he relates with Gene, given they are both a disaster at love and nearly destroyed the world. He acknowledges that he treated his friends harshly by firing them and leaving them with nothing.

At their new office, Wesley, Cordelia, and Gunn party in celebration of their success with several friends. A man shows up in need of their services. The three immediately offer to help, and he asks which on the three is the Angel of Angel Investigations. Wesley tells him it is just a name.




Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Torto demon, killed by Gunn.

Behind the scenes[]



  • "Happy Anniversary" had an audience of 2.9 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]


  • In the opening shot of the episode, Angel's reflection can be seen silhouetting the light from the inside of the room that is reflected on the glass doors.
  • As the field expands, one of the demons tries to enter an equation but is interrupted. This doesn't make any sense: if it were required for the field to expand, it would have needed to have been entered before the field expanded. If it were supposed to stabilize the field, then it has no purpose, as the demons wanted the whole world frozen in time.
  • When Angel disconnects the power, the field collapses. However, the projectors of the field are already inside the field, so they wouldn't be affected by changes outside it. Also, if the field had actually expanded to cover the world, the power grid itself would have been inside the field and thus unable to supply power.
  • When Angel's car collides with the Lubber demon, as the demon is flying over the car, the car is stationary when we see it from behind and the side. In the fourth shot, when the demon is lying behind the car, the car is moving again as we see it coming to a halt.
  • During the party at the end, the camera shows a shot of Cordelia, Gunn, and Wesley dancing, then a panning shot of them dancing from outside the window, then another shot of them before they stop and consult the customer. The position of Cordelia's dance quickly changes in between the panning shot to the third shot.


International titles[]

  • Czech: "Všechno nejlepší k výročí" (Happy Anniversary)
  • Finnish: "Hyvää vuosipäivää vai onko?" (Happy Anniversary or Is It?)
  • French: "La machine à arrêter le temps" (The Machine that Stops Time)
  • German: "Das Ende der Zeit" (The End of Time)
  • Hungarian: "Boldog évfordulót" (Happy Anniversary)
  • Italian: "Il mondo finirà" (The World Will End)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Feliz Aniversário" (Happy Anniversary)
  • Russian: "Счастливой годовщины" (Happy Anniversary)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Feliz aniversario" (Happy Anniversary)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Feliz aniversario" (Happy Anniversary)
  • Turkish: "Mutlu Yıllar" (Happy Anniversary)


Gunn: "Okay, everyone parked within ten blocks has a flyer on their windshield. We just slightly irritated almost a hundred people. Does it smell funky in here to you?"
Cordy: "It'll air out. And good job with the flyers. Now we can just sit back and let the calls roll in."
Gunn: "They better roll in through a bull horn. We've got no dial tone."
Cordy: "There. See? We'll work without the harsh glare of fluorescents, or all that distracting computer information."
Gunn: "Cordelia, stop trying."
Cordy: "Really?"
Wesley: "Join us. Sometimes you need to wallow. Just let the depression settle in. Silently."
Angel: "You want to know what my problem is? I'm screwed. That's my problem. I can't win. I'm trying to atone for a hundred years of unthinkable evil. News flash! I never can! Never going to be enough. Now I got Wolfram and Hart dogging me, it's too much! Two hundred highly intelligent law-school graduates working full-time driving me crazy. Why the hell is everyone so surprised that it's working? But no, it's 'Angel, why you're so cranky?' 'Angel, you should lighten up. You should smile. You should wear a nice plaid.'"
Host: "Oh. Not this season, honey."
Angel: "Well, you know. Love... it's a fire."
Gene: "You been there."
Angel: "It burns you — alive. Down to the bone. And then it turns the bone to ash..."
Host: "I— I think what my chipper friend is trying to say here, Gene, is the wheel keeps turning. You can't stop it. Sometimes things get worse, sometimes they get better."
Gene: "I want the wheel to stop — which probably explains the whole time in a box disaster. I can't emphasize enough how sorry I am about that."
Host: "It just don't work, Gene. It's like a song. Now, I can hold a note for a long time. Actually, I can hold a note forever... But eventually, that's just noise. It's the change we're listening for... the note coming after and the one after that. That's what makes it music.


  1. "EpisodeGuideSeason2." Geocities.ws. Retrieved on March 10, 2023.
  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.